Review: An Empty Throne, Robert Fabbri

Rating: 3 out of 5

This is a solid continuation of the series though for established readers there is little new: the characters continue on in their established patterns though of course it remains to be seen how exactly each of them meet their end. As the events depicted are history (even if not very popular history), I don’t think that “spoilers” in general terms apply so some of the things mentioned below refer to events which happen in the book and are, perhaps, unexpected.

My favourites in the series have been Ptolemaios and Eumenes. For Eumenes, this volume is fatal. Yet, the manner of his perishing is well put together—though some of the specific details about the battle which . Regrettably, few of the other characters have grown on me as much and those who I expected to like–primarily Seleukos–haven’t really displayed themselves as very interesting people. In general, it looks as if Mr Fabbri needs controversy—Eumenes’ Greek heritage or Olympias’ rage against the world—to make characters interesting. Antigonos, possibly the most straightforward person in the books with his attitude of a frontal assault against everything, almost never has a particularly interesting chapter.

Ptolemaios barely features in this book though the author is clearly setting him up for future conquests. This is a pity because, aside from Eumenes, Ptolemaios was one of the few who seemed to think actions through (in Mr Fabbri’s version) instead of charging in. A little contrast to this is provided by Thessalonike who gets her own POV chapters towards the end of this book; it seems however that with Thessalonike the author has deviated most from historical knowledge. I don’t think this is a big problem given the afterword describes what the author knows and where he has deviated, as well as how he’s deviated, but it’s still a choice—without which the plot could have been more interesting, it looks like.

Overall, I enjoy this as I enjoyed the prior volumes in this series but possibly because there’s so little available on the Diadochi. Nevertheless, the book was amusing!

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