So this book starts with Alexander as a young boy, in bed, playing with his pet snake. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.) Then his snake slithers away. He trundles off on his little toddler feet to search for it and wanders into his mother's room. (He really loves his mother. This is VERY important!) And then he sees his father naked.
Two words: SIGMUND FREUD.
On a billboard, approximately 900 feet tall, on a mountaintop, glowing with the brilliance of a thousand suns. Avert your eyes, lest you be blinded!
You know, if I'd quit after that first chapter (something I seriously considered), I wouldn't have known that the rest of the book is not nearly so heavy-handed. It's actually very adroitly-written, beautifully-researched, and fascinating. The masterful descriptions of places and people showcase Renault at the very top of her game. I really loved the interactions between Alexander and his lover/ best friend, Hephaestion, and the story of how Alexander tamed Bucephalus. It's a good novel, once you get past that first chapter.