Combining the scholarship of a historian with the imagination of a novelist, Mary Renault masterfully brings the ancient world to life in The Last of the Wine, a page-turning drama of the Peloponnesian War.
Alexias, a young Athenian of good family, comes of age during the last phases of the Peloponnesian War. He finds himself drawn to the controversial teachings of Socrates, even though this endangers both his own life and his family’s place in society. Among the great teacher’s other followers, Alexias meets Lysis and the two youths become inseparable – together they wrestle in the palaestra, journey to the Olympic Games and fight in the wars against Sparta. As their relationship develops against the background of famine, siege and civil conflict, Mary Renault expertly conveys the intricacies of classical Greek culture.
‘Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us.’ Hilary Mantel
A Classical Mosaic
Alexias was an unwanted child. When he was born, a month premature, his father took one look at his small, fragile frame and decided that he was the product of an inauspicious age and that it would...Read more