This book starts off int he thick of action with Troy’s defenses having succumbed to Odysseus’s trick (the Trojan Horse). Alexi and his older sister were orphaned during the lengthy years-long siege on Troy. Alexi himself is half-Greek and his heritage may put him in greater danger. While Alexi’s sister manages to kill one Greek soldier, she is also tossed hard against stone. Alexi believes her dead and is taken captive. While he is 15 years old, he is small for his age and lies when asked, claiming to be 12. So, right off we see that the boy can think on his feet.
Mostly high adventure but with a touch of brutal reality mixed in, we see that being a slave, even a talented one, is not an easy life. While Captain Lopex (Odysseus) is usually fair minded, he is also a trickster. Other slaves also populate Alexi’s life, including a motherly woman (Cimia?) who watches out for him and tries to make sure he eats. Pen, a young Greek warrior close to Alexi’s age, tries to build a friendship only to hide it from all the other Greeks. Urey is the main antagonist, having lost his brother to Alexi’s sister’s dagger.
With a full cast of characters, Patrick Bowman sets them into an ancient Greece full of dangers. Desperate for fresh water, the crew eventually land in the realm of the lotus eaters. Beautiful women inhabit this isle and feed, water, wine, and drug the men. Not all make it away safely. The men land on another isle seeking to trade for meat and other food supplies only to end up going toe-to-toe with a cyclops. Not only must Alexi survive these traps, he must constantly watch his back around Urey.
Bowman built in the distinctions between Greeks and Trojans, showing cultural and religious differences. Alexi has a sharp tongue and calls the Greeks idiots in one fashion or another one too many times. If he’s not careful, he could end up with some permanent marks.
Narration: Gerard Doyle was a great voice for Alexi, giving the impression of a boy on the cusp of manhood. His feminine voices could have used a little more variety, but this did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.