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From the Publisher
On the orders of his boyhood friend, now King Philip of Macedon,
Aristotle postpones his dreams of succeeding Plato as leader of the
Academy in Athens and reluctantly arrives in the Macedonian capital
of Pella to tutor the king's adolescent sons. An early illness has
left one son with the intellect of a child; the other is destined
for greatness but struggles between a keen mind that craves
instruction and the pressures of a society that demands his prowess
as a soldier.
Initially Aristotle hopes for a short stay in what he considers the
brutal backwater of his childhood. But, as a man of relentless
curiosity and reason, Aristotle warms to the challenge of
instructing his young charges, particularly Alexander, in whom he
recognizes a kindred spirit, an engaged, questioning mind coupled
with a unique sense of position and destiny.
Aristotle struggles to match his ideas against the warrior culture
that is Alexander's birthright. He feels that teaching this
startling, charming, sometimes horrifying boy is a desperate
necessity. And that what the boy - thrown before his time onto his
father's battlefields - needs most is to learn the golden mean,
that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will
mitigate the boy's will to conquer.
Aristotle struggles to inspire balance in Alexander, and he finds
he must also play a cat-and-mouse game of power and influence with
Philip in order to manage his own ambitions.
As Alexander's position as Philip's heir strengthens and his
victories on the battlefield mount, Aristotle's attempts to
instruct him are honoured, but increasingly unheeded. And despite
several troubling incidents on the field of battle, Alexander
remains steadfast in his desire to further the reach of his empire
to all known and unknown corners of the world, rendering the
intellectual pursuits Aristotle offers increasingly
Exploring this fabled time and place, Annabel Lyon tells her story
in the earthy, frank, and perceptive voice of Aristotle himself.
With sensual and muscular prose, she explores how Aristotle's
genius touched the boy who would conquer the known world. And she
reveals how we still live with the ghosts of both men.