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Destroyer of Cities (Anglais) Broché – 17 janvier 2013


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  • Broché: 528 pages
  • Editeur : Orion Publishing Group (17 janvier 2013)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1409122255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409122258
  • Dimensions du produit: 4,4 x 15,2 x 23,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Bryaxis le 4 octobre 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
En souhaitant nous donner à voir de l'intérieur le siège de Rhode par Demetrios Poliorcetos ("le preneur de cités"), Cameron nous a surtout donné un texte trop long et ouvrant moins de fenêtres sur le monde antique que dans ses précédents romans.
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Amazon.com: 9 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Neither the worst, nor the best (three and a half stars) 28 février 2013
Par JPS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I generally very much enjoy Christian Cameron's historical novels. I have read just about all of them up to now, and will continue to do so. I was, however, a bit disappointed with this one. I didn't work very well for me, unlike almost all of his previous books. Although it is arguably better in my view than King of the Bosphoros (which I rated three stars, at the time), it does have a number of problems and it is not as good, in my view, as God of War (which I rated four stars).

If you are, to quote another reviewer (Parm), looking for "wild tales of exploits and adventure", with lots of fighting on land and sea and with a bit of a historical background to it, then this one is for you. You will probably love it just as much as the author's previous books in both the Tyrant series and the Killer of Men series (not to forget "God of War", which is the author's rather unflattering take on Alexander of Macedon). Note that the battle scenes, whether on land or on sea, are just as impressive as usual, and the author's research regarding fighting techniques and military equipment is also just as good as it was in previous episodes.

If, however, you happen to be rather fussy and difficult to please, then you might experience some of the problems I had with this book.

For starters, I will deal with the author's style and the book's form. I have no problem with either. However, there are a number of little "glitches" scattered across the book, giving the impression that this was a bit of a "rushed job", with the author struggling to meet his deadline and delivering a product that could have done with some more editing. One example, among others, is a tendency to get some of names mixed up, with One-Eyed Antigonus being called "Antiochus" a couple of times. Another indication is that the author's historical note seems to be largely similar to the previous one, referring in particular to elephants who "were not tanks, nor were they a magical victory tool". The problem is that there are simply no elephants in this volume...

More importantly, I also had problems with the characters, the plot and the historical context. One of Christian Cameron's main qualities is to make both his characters and his plot plausible, if not believable. Regardless of whether they fit with the historical context, both have to "feel and sound" realistic. For me, it was not quite the case this time.

Unlike another reviewer, I personally do not care too much as to whether characters are "likable" or not. Given the period, and everything that the Twins (Satyrus and Melitta) have gone through, it is not necessarily unrealistic for them to have learned to fight and kill at an early age, when in their teens.

However, I started having a problem with young King Satyrus when I got the impression that he was some kind of "super-hero" who seems to excel in just about every kind of warfare, whether on sea or on land, in hand-to-hand fighting or during sieges, and all that at the considerable age of twenty four. This is where the author starts stretching his reader's credulity (or mine, anyway) to breaking point. A related point here is that I also got the impression that no one on the side of the Rhodians (and, more generally, on Satyrus' side) seems to be able to match our young hero's skills. While Satyrus' rashness may, to some extent, be explained away by his age, and he does tend to get cut up every time he exposes himself, just like his father Kineas did, there is a significant difference between the two characters. The later was either exposed to huge risks (at Issos and Gaugamela, but also against Zopryon) or took them deliberately, believing, whether correctly or not, that it was his duty and that this was his fate. Satyrus, however, gives the impression of being rash, or perhaps even arrogant enough to believe that he can make a difference on his own.

Then I also had a bit of a problem with Melitta, the warrior-queen of the Scythes. Here again, I got the impression that Christian Cameron was laying it on a bit thick to the extent that his character, at times, borders on the caricature. One of most extreme examples is when Melitta starts licking the blood of her blade, supposedly to "flirt" with a handsome Greek gentleman fighting alongside the Twins, according to her brother. This, in my view, was rather too much and completely unrealistic. Unless there was a vampire among the Greek gentleman's ancestors, I doubt that this would have suitably impressed him.

I also had a problem with the character of Demetrios, nicknamed the Besieger of Cities (and NOT the Destroyer of cities). He is presented as "talented but vainglorious". He was also very intelligent but arrogant and somewhat inconstant. I found that he was made to look like some kind of fool in the book. His talent simply does not come out and his achievements, in particular his crushing victory at Salamis, are minimized because the author seems to have overeager to show how Satyrus manages to best him at every turn.

Moving to the plot and the historical context, the interaction between the two is also somewhat problematic. The author makes it quite clear that Satyros was not present at either the naval battle of Salamis (Cyprus) nor at the siege of Rhodes and that his presence is therefore one of the main elements of fiction that he has introduced. There is no problem with this in itself, except that, in both cases, this leads Christian Cameron to distort both historical events quite significantly, and to largely omit some other, quite significant, events.

To start with the campaign of Cyprus, by the time King Ptolemy and his fleet arrived to rescue his brother Menelas, the latter had lost a pitched battle on land to Demetrios. Ptolemy's brother was by then besieged on both land and sea, with the remnants of his army and a fleet of 60 ships in Salamis. The naval battle of Salamis, where Demetrios had to fight on two fronts against the brothers which were trying to link up, ended in a crushing victory. Demetrius' his left wing and his centre (where Satyrus is supposed to be according to the book) defeated their counterparts and exposed Ptolemy's victorious left wing before Menelas was able to fight his way out of the port of Salamis. Moreover, with his left flank against the coast and running the risk of being encircled, Ptolemy had no other choice than to flee, abandoning a large number of transports that were carrying supplies and his expeditionary force. At one stroke, Demetrios had crippled both Ptolemy's navy - he lost more than half of his fleet - and his army - he lost tens of thousands of soldiers, many of which changed sides in favour of the Antigonids to save their skins, as they very much tended to do at the time. Ptolemy's losses were such that he would be unable to contribute any significant military force some five years later when all of the Successors "ganged up" against Antigonos and Demetrios and fought it out at Ipsos.

Following this crushing victory, the two Antigonids, father and son, invaded Egypt the same year (306 BC) in an attempt to "finish off" Ptolemy with the largest army (80000 foot and 8000 horse) and fleet that they had gathered so far. However, they failed, partly because they had left it too late in the year, partly because supplying such a large force raised huge logistical issues, and partly (and perhaps mostly) because Demetrios himself failed to turn Ptolemy's defences on the Nil and land troops behind him. At this stage, and contrary to what is shown in the book, whatever naval raids Ptolemy (and Satyros, according to the book) were able to carry out were pinpricks in reality, and not the major cause of the Antigonids' failure.

It is following this setback that Antigonos sent his son to take control of Rhodes and ensure that it would no longer trade with Egypt. Father and son both expected that it would take only a few months to deal with Rhodes. Given the multiple threats and fronts on which they were engaged at the time (in Greece, where they controlled Athens against Cassander and in Syria-Mesopotamia, against Seleukos, in particular), they could simply not afford a prolonged siege that would immobilise an army of some 40000 (between 40% and half of their total force) and most of their fleet.

As for the siege of Rhodes itself, it lasted about a year because, against all expectations (including the expectations of the Rhodians themselves, something that is rather well shown in the book!), the Rhodians held out against just about anything that Demetrios threw at them. I won't go into the details of the siege and the mistakes that Demetrius made: he made quite a few, thanks to his tendency to underestimate the Rhodians' resolve, and this is also apparent in the book. What is missing however, or what could have been explained a bit more, are some of the siege techniques that made Demetrios' everlasting fame, most of which he had already used at Salamis. For instance, while the book does refer to his huge siege towers and his use of mines, it does not mention the huge battering rams that were used by his assault troops.

At the end, Antigonus, who, at around 75 (and not 80 as sometimes indicated in the book), was past his battle days, had to call off his son and send him to deal with other emergencies. Demetrios therefore patched up a face-saving peace agreement with Rhodes transforming what was in fact a major set-back into a draw.

For those wanting to read more on this topic and period, just two recommandations:
- One is "The Age of Titans", by William Murray, which is all about large ships and their specific roles in this period, especially during sieges
- The other is the most recent and rather superb biography of Antigonos the One-Eyed (Antigonos the One-Eyer and the Creation of the Hellenistic State) by Richard Billows. By the way, Antigonos, a rather extraordinary character which is well presented in Christian Cameron's book, was NOT a "former comrade" of Alexander, contrary to what the commercial blurb indicates on Amazon's webpage. He was a "former comrade" of Alexander's father, Philip of Macedon and was almost an exact contemporary of the later.

Finally, would I nevertheless recommend this book, despite all my quibbles? Well, fans of the period or of the author (or both) probably do not need anyone's recommendations. They are likely to buy anyway. That probably includes myself, by the way, since I believe I would still buy the book now.

As for others, I guess it largely depends upon what you are looking for. Besides, the main objective of this overlong review was not to convince you to either buy or pass on this book. It was to give you an idea as to what to expect.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Back at sea, back on form? 3 mars 2013
Par Alyson BAILES - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This latest volume in the story of Satyrus, King of the Bosporus, starts with a series of sea battles that set a fast tempo but also manage to build a more coherent story than in some previous instalments. The rest of the book is given unity by a detailed account of the siege of Rhodes by Demetrios son of Antigonus - although with a secondary theme of Melitta's raid into Bactria.
Maybe knowing less of the true historical events than other reviewers, I was more satisfied overall by this book than by the rest of the story of Satyrus so far. The author has tried to give him more depth and ambiguity as a character, for instance through a self-punishing episode that he endures in the middle of the book, but also by introducing a new friendly rival for him - the musician Anaxagoras. While the events of the siege cannot help but be thrilling, the ins and outs of the characters' relationships are also more interesting and somewhat less predictable than usual. We learn for the first time that Kineas, Satyrus's father, was a descendant of Arimnestos, the hero of Cameron's other ancient Greek series. And finally, the book has the usual wealth of detail about how things actually worked in those times, including Demetrios's famous siege engines. Despite some surprising mistakes in the text (mixed-up personal names, Arbela called both Arabela and Arabella!), this is a book that will absorb Cameron's fans; and it would by no means be a bad choice for someone sampling him for the first time.
Satyrus and Melitta still going strong 30 janvier 2014
Par Ben Kane - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
It's a rare thing indeed these days for me to finish a novel and absolutely long to read the next, as yet unpublished volume in the series. Destroyer of Cities is one of those few novels to fit into that category, however. It's because Cameron is one of the best historical fiction writers around.

Others have gone into the plot, and the characters, so I won't. You'll enjoy this book even if you haven't read the first four books in the series, but it will go down far better if you have. Start with Tyrant, the story of Satyrus' and Melitta's father. You won't regret it.

Ben Kane, author of the Spartacus and Hannibal novels.
One of the best Historical Fiction writers. 16 mars 2013
Par Historical Bibliophile - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This one is so good, i have to go back and read the previous books in this series. Christian Cameron is one of my favorite writers today. HIs knowledge of this period and the greek world in general is not only great but he captures the poetry of these warriors. He still has one of the best books on Alexander I have ever read. Every book he writes is a classic. My hope is that this writer with his huge talents writes the definitive novels of Troy.
Another excellent Christian Cameron novel 19 janvier 2014
Par Hepius - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I am a huge fan of Christian Cameron's books. This one did not disappoint. As usual Cameron does a wonderful job filling his novels with historical detail without sounding like he is lecturing you. The rich history and culture of the Hellenistic world comes through as a natural part of the story.

Filled with gripping action, the novel follows Satyrus (mostly) and Melitta (to a much lesser extent) as they take part in the epic Siege of Rhodes. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.
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