[September 4, 1905 - December 13, 1983]
After Alexanderís death in 323 B.C. his only direct heirs were two unborn
sons and a simpleton half-brother. Every long-simmering faction exploded
into the vacuum of power. Wives, distant relatives, and generals all vied
for the loyalty of the increasingly undisciplined Macedonian army. Most
failed and were killed in the attempt. For no one possessed the leadership
to keep the great empire from crumbling. But Alexanderís legend endured to
spread into worlds he had seen only in dreams.
The Praise Singer
In the story of the great lyric poet Simonides, Mary Renault brings alive
a time in Greece when tyrants kept an unsteady rule and poetry, music, and
royal patronage combined to produce a flowering of the arts.
Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes
his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian
singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns
not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to
navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is
witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the
Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the
Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes,
thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos.
Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant
imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a
sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.
The Persian Boy
The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexanderís life
through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy,
Bagoas was sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but found freedom
with Alexander after the Macedon army conquered his homeland. Their
relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the
demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes-mutinous army, and his own
ferocious temper. After Alexanderís mysterious death, we are left
wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his
ambitions better than anyone.
Fire from Heaven
Alexanderís beauty, strength, and defiance were apparent from birth, but
his boyhood honed those gifts into the makings of a king. His mother,
Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for
their sonís loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance from the
cradle. His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while
Aristotleís tutoring provoked his mind and Homerís Iliad fueled his
aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve, he
became regent at sixteen and commander of Macedonís cavalry at eighteen,
so that by the time his father was murdered, Alexanderís skills had grown
to match his fiery ambition.
The Mask of Apollo (1966)
Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, The Mask of Apollo is narrated by
Nikeratos, a tragic actor who takes with him on all his travels a gold
mask of Apollo, a relic of the theater's golden age, which is now past. At
first his mascot, the mask gradually becomes his conscience, and he refers
to it his gravest decisions, when he finds himself at the center of a
political crisis in which the philosopher Plato is also involved. Much of
the action is set in Syracuse, where Plato's friend Dion is trying to
persuade the young tyrant Dionysios the Younger to accept the rule of law.
Through Nikeratos' eyes, the reader watches as the clash between the two
looses all the pent-up violence in the city.
The Bull from the Sea
The Bull from the Sea reconstructs the legend of Theseus, the
valiant youth who slew the Minotaur, became king, and brought prosperity
to Attica. Chief among his heroic exploits is the seduction of Hippolyta,
the Queen of the Amazons, who irrevocably brought about both his greatest
joy and his tragic destiny.
The King Must Die
The story of the mythical hero Theseus, slayer of monsters, abductor of
princesses and king of Athens. He emerges from these pages as a clearly
defined personality; brave, aggressive and quick. The core of the story is
Theseus' Cretan adventure.
In The Last of the Wine, two young Athenians, Alexias and Lysis,
compete in the palaestra, journey to the Olympic games, fight in the wars
against Sparta, and study under Socrates. As their relationship develops,
Renault expertly conveys Greek culture, showing the impact of this supreme
philosopher whose influence spans epochs.
The Last of the Wine
After enduring an injury at Dunkirk during World War
II, Laurie Odell is sent to a rural veteransí hospital in England to
convalesce. There he befriends the young, bright Andrew, a conscientious
objector serving as an orderly. As they find solace and companionship
together in the idyllic surroundings of the hospital, their friendship
blooms into a discreet, chaste romance. Then one day, Ralph Lanyon, a
mentor from Laurieís schoolboy days, suddenly reappears in Laurieís life,
and draws him into a tight-knit social circle of world-weary gay men.
Laurie is forced to choose between the sweet ideals of innocence and the
distinct pleasures of experience.
Originally published in the United States in 1959, The Charioteer
is a bold, unapologetic portrayal of male homosexuality during World War
II that stands with Gore Vidal's The
City and the Pillar and
Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories as a monumental
work in gay literature.
Return to Night
The Friendly Young Ladies
Set in 1937, The Friendly Young Ladies
is a romantic comedy of off-Bloomsbury bohemia. Sheltered, naÔve, and just
eighteen, Elsie leaves the stifling environment of her parentsí home in
Cornwall to seek out her sister, Leo, who had run away nine years earlier.
She finds Leo sharing a houseboat, and a bed, with the beautiful,
fair-haired Helen. While Elsieís arrival seems innocent enough, it is the
first of a series of events that will turn Helen and Leoís contented life
inside out. Soon a randy young doctor is chasing after all three women at
once, a neighborly friendship begins to show an erotic tinge, and
long-quiet ghosts from Leoís past begin to surface. Before long, no one is
sure just who feels what for whom.
Mary Renault wrote this delightfully provocative novel in the early 1940s,
creating characters that are lighthearted, charming, and free-spirited
partly in answer to the despair characteristic of Radclyffe Hallís
The Well of Loneliness or Lillian Hellmanís The Childrenís
Hour. The result is a witty and stylish story that offers
exceptional insight into the world of upcoming writers and artists of in
1930s London, chronicling their rejection of societyís established sexual
mores and their heroic pursuits of art and life. Also known as
Kind are Her Answers
Also known as
Promise of Love
Purposes of Love
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