SHADOW OF THE LION
A Historical Novel
W. Ruth Kozak
PLACE: Beginning in Babylon at the time of Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC, the story follows the journey of the newly appointed joint-kings, Alexander’s idiot half-brother Philip Arridaios and his infant son, Iskander (Alexander IV) through Asia Minor to Macedon, until the year 310 BC when tragedy marks the end of Alexander’s dynasty.
THEME: How ruthless ambition, greed and the quest for power corrupted and destroyed a World Power.
PLOT: When Alexander the Great, King of Macedon and conqueror of Asia, dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances at the age of thirty-three in Babylon, everyone who lives in his shadow are affected. As the after-shocks of his death bring disorder in his Empire from Macedon to Persia, a deadly power struggle begins over who will rule.
At the centre of this political conflict is Alexander’s son, Iskander, born after Alexander’s death to his Soghdian wife Roxana. Neither the boy nor his mother are accepted by the Macedonians who wanted a pure-blooded Macedonian to take the throne and chose Alexander’s mentally deficient half-brother Philip Arridaios to act as a joint-king, until little Alexander comes of age to claim the throne.
SHADOW OF THE LION is a story of political intrigue, ruthless ambition, racial prejudice, child abuse and exploitation. It is a true story, with all the ingredients of a Greek tragedy. The ‘shadow’ and spirit of Alexander is the golden thread woven throughout this vivid tapestry. The differences between the opulent, aristocratic Persians and the rough highland warriors of Macedon provide a colourful contrast in the warp and weft of the prose.
The novel is told in a multiple point-of-view with each character remembering Alexander through his or her own eyes, always according to the conditions under which they were involved with Alexander. We see him through the eyes of the Persians whom he conquered, and from the point-of-view of his generals and soldiers who loved and admired him. We also see him through the eyes of the women who came under his charismatic spell, namely his Soghdian wife Roxana, his formidable mother Olympias, and his ambitious warrior-woman niece Adeia-Eurydike. And we see him through the eyes of his lifelong enemy, Kassandros, a suspect in Alexander’s untimely death and the one whose evil intent eventually brings the Empire down.
The novel begins with a PROLOGUE: In Babylon, as Ptolemy, the illegitimate half-brother of Alexander writes in his journal:
“Alexander is dead. I have wept for him. He was god and man. He will continue to live, I think, forever and ever, for thousands and thousands of years.”
It ends with an EPILOGUE, set in Alexandria Egypt, as Ptolemy, now the satrap and first Ptolemaic pharaoh of Egypt, writes an ominous prediction that reflects on today’s world:
“We are driven by greed to win fame and power in unrighteous ways and the more we have, the more we covet, until greed and blind ambition destroys us.”
Much of the research for this novel was done in Greece with the assistance of the Greek National Tourism, Greek Counsel of Vancouver, the Greek Ministry of Culture (Athens), Society of Macedonian Studies (Thessaloniki), and various Classical scholar friends such as the Finnish Institute of Athens, who provided me with documents for museum and site passes, and permission to research at the Gennadius Library and the British Library at Athens.
SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON was published in July 2014 by MediaAria-CDM, UK and is available on Amazon.com, in high street bookstores in UK, major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble in US and Chapters in Canada.