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In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great's marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos' son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refu In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great's marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos' son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refuse his offer. Menedemos and Sostratos take the Aphrodite to Egypt for business...and to tell Ptolemaios what has been going on. Just before they leave, they learn Demetrios has invaded the island of Cyprus, which Ptolemaios dominates. He is advancing on the southeastern town of Salamis, where Ptolemaios' brother, Menelaos, has concentrated his forces. After they pass on their news, Menedemos does business in the brash new city of Alexandria while Sostratos travels up the Nile to old, old Memphis to trade there, and to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Ptolemaios, meanwhile, readies a fleet to rescue his brother and drive Demetrios back to Asia Minor. Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing the Aphrodite along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world's greatest naval battles.


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In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great's marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos' son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refu In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great's marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos' son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refuse his offer. Menedemos and Sostratos take the Aphrodite to Egypt for business...and to tell Ptolemaios what has been going on. Just before they leave, they learn Demetrios has invaded the island of Cyprus, which Ptolemaios dominates. He is advancing on the southeastern town of Salamis, where Ptolemaios' brother, Menelaos, has concentrated his forces. After they pass on their news, Menedemos does business in the brash new city of Alexandria while Sostratos travels up the Nile to old, old Memphis to trade there, and to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Ptolemaios, meanwhile, readies a fleet to rescue his brother and drive Demetrios back to Asia Minor. Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing the Aphrodite along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world's greatest naval battles.

30 review for Salamis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ozymandias

    A note for anyone coming across this book for the first time: while Goodreads doesn't state it this is the fifth book in the Hellenic Traders series. If you haven't read them you should: they're very good. While this review will contain only minimal spoilers for this book, it does discuss events from the previous books. So look away if you're interested in reading them. I am very glad to see this series start up again after fifteen years on the backburner. When we left off in Owls to Athens Demet A note for anyone coming across this book for the first time: while Goodreads doesn't state it this is the fifth book in the Hellenic Traders series. If you haven't read them you should: they're very good. While this review will contain only minimal spoilers for this book, it does discuss events from the previous books. So look away if you're interested in reading them. I am very glad to see this series start up again after fifteen years on the backburner. When we left off in Owls to Athens Demetrius had just taken over Athens easily by posing as their liberator and the noose seems to be tightening around the last free polis of Rhodes. On a more personal note, Menedemos had just slept with his father's wife putting us in rather a cliffhanger over his eventual fate. Even more of a reason to want the series to return is the fact that it ended with two years to go before the historical Menedemos' sole appearance: as a captain during the naval battle in defense of Rhodes. It's been clear from the beginning that this is where the series is leading and to end just before the big event... heartbreaking. Well we're not quite there yet. That will be for the next book, which sounds like it's coming soon. This time the story covers the battle of Salamis, the event which allowed the famous Siege of Rhodes to be carried out unopposed. As you might gather from that description, this is a rather different book from the last ones. It's shorter for one thing. Much shorter. And given how some of those books, for all their excellent qualities, could drag on for a bit I consider that a good thing. Another important change is that we spend little of this time trading. They've been directed towards Alexandria by the leaders of Rhodes and once there they are hardly in a position to resist when Ptolemy wants their ship for his supply chain. While we see little of the battle itself, we have a keen idea of its consequences. Rhodes is next. And if the city can't defend itself the last free polis in Greece will fall. It may be just me but the characters do feel distinctly different this time around. Whether it's the result of fifteen years passing between books or a deliberate choice, the characters are growing. Sostratos has learned how to read social situations better (was he always slightly autistic?) and Menedemos is starting to take life more seriously. He may have a son on the way, or it may be a half-brother, but either way he's developing responsibilities and finding that he can't stop thinking about them. Perhaps it was clever to push all that character development in now. The characters seem as surprised by it as I was. I'm really looking forwards to the next one. I find the siege of Rhodes fascinating and it is the big event the series has been leading to after all. It promises to be a very different book too. We've always skirted around the wars of the successors in these books, for all that they've been getting regularly closer, and now we're going to be thrust into the middle of them. I can't wait.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grady

    The great ballet of Salamis 306 BC – history revisited and enhanced! California author Harry Turtledove is one of the most prolific and highly awarded novelists of the day. He attended Cal Tech, then earned his PhD in Byzantine history from UCLA and that initiated his passion for revisiting and rethinking important moments in all of history. His spectrum of themes is broad and his mastery of alternative history is solid. This reader was first introduced to the author in the anthology AND THE LAST The great ballet of Salamis 306 BC – history revisited and enhanced! California author Harry Turtledove is one of the most prolific and highly awarded novelists of the day. He attended Cal Tech, then earned his PhD in Byzantine history from UCLA and that initiated his passion for revisiting and rethinking important moments in all of history. His spectrum of themes is broad and his mastery of alternative history is solid. This reader was first introduced to the author in the anthology AND THE LAST TRUMP SHALL SOUND, a political satire of the first rank co-authored with James Morrow and Cat Rambo, and the impact of that reading experience of his 'The Breaking of Nations’ opened a need for studying Turtledove’s talent more closely. Making history come alive is a skill Turtledove has mastered, inviting the reader into a credible scene as he opens this novel: ‘The helmet sat heavy on Menedemos’ head. The cheekpieces covered his ears, too, so that he felt as if he had his finger stuffed into them. Together, the cheekpieces and the nasal squeezed his vision. So did the upper rim of his big, round, bronze-faced hoplite’s shield. The shield was also heavy; keeping it up so it warded the lower half of his face took work. His right hand closed tighter on the spearshaft. The spear was as long as he was tall, and not a weapon he was used to using. He knew what to do with the sword on his belt, but in this kind of fighting, swords were for emergencies, when you’d lost or broken your spear.’ This admixture of earthy painting allows the reader to easily identify with the characters – a major feat for viewing history! Turtledove distills the action of this new novel well: ‘Salamis is the fifth novel in the critically acclaimed Hellenic Traders universe, detailing the adventures of two cousins, Menedemos and Sostratos, who work as seaborne traders following the death of Alexander the Great. This time the stage is one of the greatest sea battles ever fought in ancient times; the Battle of Salamis of 306 BC. The small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great’s marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and Egypt, under the rule of Ptolemaios. As tensions between the great powers escalate, Menedemos and Sostratos are trying to resolve their own problems, oblivious to the fact that one of the greatest navel fleets in ancient history is about to set sail. Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing their ship, the Aphrodite, along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world’s most significant naval battles. For pure entertainment and an opportunity to peek at history in a most memorable fashion, Harry Turtledove’s books rise to the top of the list. Very highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    The Review A wonderful deep-dive into ancient history, author Harry Turtledove has done it again with a stellar novel. The balance the author achieves with the historical background and events of the war between Ptolemaios and Demetrios and the personal relationships and struggles of the protagonists Menedemos and Sostratos is remarkable. War was an all too common event in this period of history, and getting to know the characters personally who were caught in the midst of this war was fascinatin The Review A wonderful deep-dive into ancient history, author Harry Turtledove has done it again with a stellar novel. The balance the author achieves with the historical background and events of the war between Ptolemaios and Demetrios and the personal relationships and struggles of the protagonists Menedemos and Sostratos is remarkable. War was an all too common event in this period of history, and getting to know the characters personally who were caught in the midst of this war was fascinating to see unfold. The author’s use of imagery shone brightly in this narrative, with the cities of Salamis, Alexandria, and Memphis coming to life and exploring pivotal locations in Ancient Greece and Egypt. As a history fan, exploring the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s passing as his successors fought over who deserved to rule over the empire he had built was amazing, and giving the role of protagonist to a small historical figure and a fictitious character both was an inspired choice. The Verdict Enthralling, action-packed, and historically driven, author Harry Turtledove’s “Salamis” is a must-read historical fiction novel. The fifth of the Hellenic Traders Universe that the author has crafted around Menedemos and Sostratos was a massive success, with an evenly-paced narrative and engaging characters that made the story come to life as one of history’s greatest battles became the stage for this plot to come to life. From the way, society ran during those days in places like Rhodes to the bond between a family being tested, especially for Menedemos, made this a truly entertaining read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gallagher

    Best of the series I have been a fan of harry's work since I read his Misplaced Legion books way back in the early 90s. I've always enjoyed his stuff even if some of it didn't always get it right on as far as I was concerned it right on as far as I was concerned. But he's But his Wine Dark Sea series, has always been my favorite of his works. And this 1 is the best of the 5 in my opinion. In part because as a reader of the whole series Ties in character growth for the main protagonists through th Best of the series I have been a fan of harry's work since I read his Misplaced Legion books way back in the early 90s. I've always enjoyed his stuff even if some of it didn't always get it right on as far as I was concerned it right on as far as I was concerned. But he's But his Wine Dark Sea series, has always been my favorite of his works. And this 1 is the best of the 5 in my opinion. In part because as a reader of the whole series Ties in character growth for the main protagonists through the whole series into this story. You see how Mendemos and Sostratos Have grown from the young man that they were at the beginning of the series, and I find that very gratifying. I also love the little bits of historical philosophy that he fits into the stories and how he tries to put himself into the minds of people that lived more than 2000 years ago, and I think that he does so successfully. Now that we have finally returned to these characters after a long drought I hope this book does well enough that Harry gets to tell us a few more stories for these characters before he is done.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Menedemos and Sostratos are off on another adventure! This time they voyage to Alexandria in Aegypt. While Sostratos sails up the Nile to sell olive oil and visit the Pyramids, Menedemos has to navigate the politics surrounding Ptolemaios with the result that the Aphrodite ends up carrying arms on a sea voyage with the fleet going to relieve Salamis on Cyprus. That did not end well, but our duo does manage to survive and return home. Now the question looms, what would Antigonos and Demetrios do Menedemos and Sostratos are off on another adventure! This time they voyage to Alexandria in Aegypt. While Sostratos sails up the Nile to sell olive oil and visit the Pyramids, Menedemos has to navigate the politics surrounding Ptolemaios with the result that the Aphrodite ends up carrying arms on a sea voyage with the fleet going to relieve Salamis on Cyprus. That did not end well, but our duo does manage to survive and return home. Now the question looms, what would Antigonos and Demetrios do next? Maybe Harry Turtledove will grace us with that tale at some future date.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark Moxley-Knapp

    Another excellent entry in this series (and hopefully setting up the next book.) Well-written, well-researched, with interesting characters and lots of surprises (particularly for those of us who don't know much about Greek history.) Another excellent entry in this series (and hopefully setting up the next book.) Well-written, well-researched, with interesting characters and lots of surprises (particularly for those of us who don't know much about Greek history.)

  7. 5 out of 5

    David King

    Not what I was expecting from a Harry Turtledove book. I almost set the book down on two or three occasions, but I kept reading hoping that the action in the story would start up. But it never did. The book was a character study and a history period pic

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura Poppenwimer

    I didn't find this as interesting as most of Turtledove's historical fiction. The plot was weak and it just didn't flow as well as his books normally do. I didn't find this as interesting as most of Turtledove's historical fiction. The plot was weak and it just didn't flow as well as his books normally do.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Valance

    The 5th novel in Turtledove’s critically acclaimed Hellenic Traders universe, details the adventures of two cousins, Menedemos and Sostratos, seaborne traders during the upheavals & wars following the death of Alexander the Great. This time they become involvedin one of the greatest sea battles ever fought in ancient times: the Battle of Salamis in 306 BC between the Macedonian generals Demetrios the Besieger & Ptolemy, the ruler of Egypt.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tom Shearer

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Donaghy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter Stearns

  13. 5 out of 5

    Loyal

  14. 4 out of 5

    Demetrios

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Lemke

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ladonna

  17. 5 out of 5

    Debra

  18. 5 out of 5

    David

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aevylmar

  20. 5 out of 5

    P J Cowan

  21. 4 out of 5

    William T. Jensen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Martha Rinn

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anton

  24. 5 out of 5

    Terry Talks Fiction

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ralph E. Chamness

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patrick MacGuire

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lif Strand

  29. 5 out of 5

    DebraLynn Kjoniksen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jorge Luis

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