The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach

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The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: King Croesus experiences a dramatic change of fortune that allows him to evaluate the true meaning of happiness. But is it too late?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Atlantic Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780857899170

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Ancient mythology seems to be enjoying a surge in popularity of late, with a plethora of books, movies and games based on these ancient legends and fabled heroes. There is something in the collective consciousness that enables these stories to resonate with each subsequent generation, allowing ancient wisdom to put out new roots in fresh soil.

For his debut novel, Tim Leach steers clear of the familiar Greek and Roman legends and instead concentrates a lesser-known character, King Croesus of Lydia. Yes, he is the man responsible for the phrase ' rich as Croesus' and it turns out that the fellow was very rich indeed. Unfortunately, he equates his superfluity of riches with happiness, until the words of a wise seer allow him to re-evaluate what it means to be truly happy:

Look to the end, no matter what you are considering. Often enough, the gods give a man a glimpse of happiness and then utterly ruin him.

By taking on the might of the Persian Empire in the quest for even more wealth, Croesus meets his match in Cyrus of Persia, an expert military strategist. It is only when Croesus has truly lost everything that he reflects on the words of the seer and how painfully true they have proved to be.

Leach weaves a beautiful narrative and brings the excesses of ancient Lydia to life with his expressive writing style. There are many plot twists and as a reader, I soon learned not to judge any of the characters in the story too soon, as my opinion of them would change many times over the course of the book. Croesus is depicted as a flawed leader, but Leach skilfully persuades the reader to keep rooting for him, despite his mistakes.

On the surface, the book is an enjoyable adventure set in an ancient world, but the message of the book goes much deeper. Reading the story encourages a great deal of self-reflection and analysis which may leave the reader a little wiser by the end of the book. This is an absorbing, refreshing novel which offers something a little different to the norm and I hope that the author has more tales of ancient worlds in the pipeline.

Fans of ancient mythology may enjoy Orpheus, The Song Of Life by Ann Wroe. We also have a review of The King and the Slave by Tim Leach.

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Buy The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach at

Booklists.jpg The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach is in the Top Ten Historical Fiction Books of 2013.


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