Review: Babylon, Robert Fabbri

Rating: 4 out of 5

Immensely enjoyable even without Eumenes to lead the way, Mr Fabbri’s continuation of this saga delivers again. There are some pretty long gaps in coverage here which I feel could have been explained better, but overall we come from a point where Antigonos was the main power to a situation where he no longer has unquestioned authority. In this, of course, Ptolemaios and Seleukos play they roles—which endears the book to me even if both of them have a slightly lower prevalence here than in previous books.

As the name of the book suggests, the key player this time round is Seleukos, but even despite this role of a protagonist that he has been given by the author, only a few chapters are really about him. The great city itself only features at the start and end, with Seleukos spending the majority of his time in between in exile. His time in exile isn’t as bad as it sounds, however, as he’s given an army by Ptolemaios with which Seleukos harasses Antigonos everywhere around the Mediterranean. It is not just victories, but also defeats, of course, that he suffers, but the likely reader will know of his future rise so the character’s survival is never in question.

The more interesting developments take place in Macedonia, where Kassandros is doing his best to stay in power. Some of the most emotionally powerful chapters of the book took place in Macedonia where the author looked in on the young Alexander, King of Macedonia. Roxana never features as a character in this book with whom one would want to sympathize, but the moment when the young lad was taken for virtual imprisonment in Macedonian foothills was forceful. In one of the few glimpses of the horror of history, that authors of historical fiction choose to take on, Mr Fabbri here managed to show the cruelty that people are willing to indulge in to stay in power.

I am interested in this period in history, and I liked this book.

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