It isn’t that I object to it. I just feel it’s the wrong adjective as applied to the films I do. Because horror to me is, say, a film like The Godfather. Or anything to do with war, which is real and can happen, and unfortunately, no doubt, will happen again some time. But the films that dear Christopher Lee and I do are really fantasy. And I think fantasy is a better adjective to use. I don’t object to the term horror, it’s just the wrong adjective!
—Peter Cushing Interview 1973 (1973); courtesy Wikiquote
One of my favorite Tarzan books, and one which bears great similarity to the Mowgli stories in The Jungle Book.
Once more British author David Gemmell has triumphed with a brilliant piece of historical fiction/fantasy, Lion of Macedon. Gemmell made his name with the Drenai series, novels set in a world roughly similar to late Antiquity or the early Middle Ages. These follow the fortunes of the Greek-like people known as the Drenai over a period of many centuries. Gemmell has also written the Jerusalem Man series, which deals with Arthurian themes and spans from the Middle Ages to the post-apocalyptic future. With Lion of Macedon, Gemmell has entered new territory, basing his story on actual historical people and events.
Lion of Macedon deals with a period of history which changed the world and whose effects are with us still: the rise of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. The conquests first of Philip and then his son set the stage for the wide diffusion of Hellenistic culture. It was out of this matrix that the Greco-Roman culture of the Roman Empire, and thus ultimately our own, arose. This fascinating period has been little dealt with in fiction, and it is good to see Gemmell do so. He does this by concentrating on an extremely important but “forgotten” character: Parmenion, the chief general under Philip and Alexander, and the “Lion of Macedon” of the book’s title. Although Parmenion helped develop the strategies that Philip and Alexander used to conquer the largest empire the world had seen to that point, and served as Alexander’s right-hand man, little is known of him. Thus, he serves as an excellent window through whom to present the events of the novel.
All too often writers try to get into the heads of major figures in historical fiction. This is hard to do well, as it throws the reader into the situation of seeing events from the insider point of view before understanding the context. The device Gemmell uses allows us to watch the rise of Macedon develop from the viewpoint of an outsider. We learn along with Parmenion. Meanwhile, we see the wonderful character development given to him and to the other characters. When we come to Philip finally, we feel comfortable in the ancient world on the eve of the Hellenistic period. Read the rest of this entry