Friday, December 12, 2008

Good history/bad history

I've already had students asking for the sequel to Michael Ford's Fire of Ares (reviewed April 08, 2008), and they will not be disappointed with Birth of a Warrior.Lysander has been accepted by the Spartans despite his Helot mother-- after all, his grandfather is the ephor. For training, Lysander is sent with his enemies Demaratos and Agesilaus to survive in the mountains with limited food and clothing. When the group returns from this adventure, they are thrust into war with Persia.

Not only is this book packed with action and intigue, it sneaks in wonderful moments of personal growth and identity. Mr. Ford studied Classics at Oxford, so the historical details are rich and accurate. A must have series.

It was for the historical inaccuracy that I could not abide Carolyn Hennessy's Pandora Gets Vain, the sequel to Pandora Gets Jealous (reviewed April 16, 2008). DISCLAIMER: I was a Latin teacher. I am picky.
The language was still grating (calling her Pandy), and there were multiple descriptions of the girls' togas. Google "toga". It's very clear that this is a loose outer garment worn by ROMAN men. Pandora would wear a tunic, or a chiton. The only women who wore togas were prostitutes. I could almost stomach that, but then Pandora, who is already in the company of Helen and Homer (vastly different eras), meets up with a Chinese woman, a Mayan, and several other vaguely mythological beings. The Greeks did not really know about the Chinese until the time of Alexander the Great. I know that this is just a fun myth-BASED romp, but I really do fear that it will confuse students who read these because they are enjoying learning about mythology, especially when we are trying to get their time-lines straight.

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