Fire and Bronze (Review)

Fire and Bronze (Review)

kay, I might be a little biased on this. After all, I literally wrote the book. But I’ll do my best to give you an honest assessment.

Fire and Bronze is the story of Princess Elisha of Tyre (a city on an island that used to be off Lebanon (as for why it no longer is, refer to my own Early Retirement)). At a young age her father the king passes and she ends up in a power struggle against her brother for the throne of Tyre (and her very survival). She opposes him with her own power faction, noble against commoner, word and club, stratagem and tactic, before finally loosing. There follows the supposed myth of how she and her surviving nobles are sent over to the mainland to dig up her late husband’s vast treasure, how she turned this to her advantage and escaped with a single warship to Cyprus, how she grew her power over the storm season and eventually sailed to the western Mediterranean with a small colonization fleet to found Carthage. And Carthage, as you know, eventually grew over the next 700 years to actually stand toe-to-toe with Rome.

The book has a number of threads running through it – a young girl’s sexual inexperience, the power struggle with her brother, the tricks and twists that are so much of her legend (and the basis for the term “Punic Faith”), the effort of colonization, the foundation and growth of a city. There was certainly a lot going on as these threads often ran concurrently. And all this leads up to the final historic fact, of her throwing herself on a pyre rather than submitting to Libyan domination.

So it’s a busy book with lots going on. Myself, as a reader and not a glowing author and from a point fifteen years removed from publication, I’d have wished for a couple of things. A glossary would have been nice (there are a lot of Phoenician words – before my editor got a hold of it, there were lots more). And more importantly, a list of characters probably should have been included. There were a lot of folks running about the pages with all sorts of ancient names, and even I caught myself occasionally thinking, “Wait, who is this guy again?”

So look, I know I’m the writer and all, and it’s my own damn book, but I’m going to tell you that I enjoyed it as a reader, not an author. The story moves along, it’s got a lot of historical information and it deals with a people and place generally forgotten in our modern world. So at the point of sounding like a shill, I’m going to recommend it.

Don’t give me a lot of shit on this.