Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Sand-Reckoner

by Gillian Bradshaw

Story summary: Archimedes, genius 2,000 years ahead of his time, returns reluctantly home from the knowledge-heaven of Alexandria to his family home, just in time for the Roman siege of Syracuse.

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • It makes one fascinated by a particular era and historical figure
  • And unlike many novels that do the above, this one seems pretty historically accurate (I got this from reviews, I am completely ignorant myself)
  • It brings to life the everyday of another time and place, making it both familiar and foreign.

And Why You Might Not:
  • There is more romance than expected. I mostly enjoyed it (it made it a cozy book, which I always love), but somehow it also made it less impactful to me. I talk about it a little more below, but don't manage to really figure out why.

Thoughts: As I mentioned above, I love when a novel gives me a new fascination with history and makes me want to research everything about something. I especially love when that historical person/time is related to math! science! engineering! numbers! I just love absent minded professor types who go off onto random tangents about circles...

So yeah, this was a great book. It was also a cozy book, meaning in this case that it dwelt significantly on relationships, romantic and otherwise. Which, weirdly, made me slightly less fascinated with the historical era and persons. It was still great, and I enjoyed the coziness. I just kind of wish I came away with a stronger impression of either the brilliance of Archimedes or the relationships of Ancient Syracuse, instead of a lesser mix of both.

Anyway, can't wait to read all the rest of her books!

Grade: 4 stars

If You Like This, You Might Also Like:
  • The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff: Because nobody does Roman-era historical fiction like Sutcliff, and this is one of her best.
  • Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster: Because back in the day, it was one of my favourite books to learn about ancient history. There's a really cool holistic approach to that particular era of the ancient world, integrating people, events, and ideas from across the world.
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner: Because I want any excuse I can get to recommend it. And because it has that lovely historical atmosphere, a brilliant main character, and romance which only increases the impact of all the other elements. Unfortunately, it's the third in a series. The first two are not at the third's level, they are still excellent and you should read them.
  • And obviously check out Bradshaw's other books as well. I greatly enjoyed the few I've read so far, and the rest look fantastic.

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