Fire from Heaven
A Novel of Alexander the Great: A Virago Modern Classic
By Mary Renault
In the first novel of her stunning trilogy, Mary Renault vividly imagines the life of Alexander the Great, the charismatic leader whose drive and ambition created a legend. Published as part of a beautifully designed series to mark the 40th anniversary of the Virago Modern Classics.
'The Alexander Trilogy contains some of Renault's finest writing. Lyrical, wise, compelling: the novels are a wonderful imaginative feat - Sarah Waters
Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three, leaving behind an empire that stretched from Greece to India. Fire From Heaven tells the story of the years that shaped him. His mother, Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for their son's loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance. His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while Aristotle's tutoring provoked his mind and fuelled his aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve and commanding Macedon's cavalry at eighteen, by the time his father is murdered, Alexander's skills have grown to match his fiery ambition.
Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
Mary Renault (1905-1983) was born in London and educated at St Hughs, Oxford. She trained as a nurse at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary, where she met her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard. Her first novel, Purposes of Love, was published in 1937. In 1948, after North Face won a MGM prize worth $150,000, she and Mullard emigrated to South Africa. There, Renault was able to write forthrightly about homosexual relationships for the first time - in her masterpiece, The Charioteer (1953), and then in her first historical novel, The Last of the Wine (1956). Renault's vivid novels set in the ancient world brought her worldwide fame. In 2010 Fire From Heaven was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.
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- Publication date:
07 Aug 2014
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Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty . . . a literary conjuring trick . . . so convincing and passionately conjured — The Times
Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty . . . a literary conjuring trick . . . so convincing and passionately conjured