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Assyrian by Nicholas Guild
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Summary and Reviews of The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild Set in the 7th Century B.C., The Assyrian is the story of Tiglath Ashur, a minor prince of the royal house of Ashur. The child of a Greek concubine, he spends his childhood in King Sennacherib's house of women, where his closest friend is his half-brother Esarhaddon and he first encounters the great love of his life, his cousin Esharhamat. Both Tiglath and Esarhaddon dream of becoming soldiers, but one of them is destined to be king and marry Esharhamat. It is a destiny which drives the brothers, even against their will, into bitter rivalry. The Assyrian captures all the pageantry, passion and cruelty of the ancient world. It is a story of love, war and empire. It is the human face of a remote past. What others have said about Nicholas Guild's The Assyrian: Publishers Weekly Guild (The Berlin Warning) masterfully describes court intrigues and the feverish panorama of the battlefield, but the book's abundant merit lies in its timelessness and universality. This story of a passionately moral man torn among amorous longings, the seductiveness of power, fraternal emotion and cognizance of his nation's welfare holds many contemporary implications. Kirkus Reviews Starred Review Guild, previously a crafter of sturdy political thrillers (Chain Reaction, the Berlin Warning, The Linz Tattoo) here switches genres to surpass himself in a stunning historical epic -- the life and loves of a young Assyrian prince -- that teems with violence, sex, and period detail. . . Tiglath makes a splendid centerpiece for Guild's rich rendering of Assyrian life. All in all: an exciting, full-blooded epic peopled with dozens of memorable characters. Amazon Customer Reviews 4+ Stars (26 reviews) This story is one that does far more than give an entertaining, deep, beautiful story, though it does that hands down. It also gives more than a better idea of what the Assyrian people were like than any other book will ever give you. This story is about everything that makes us human; the loyalty, betrayals, love, pain, sorrow, and so much more. It makes you understand exactly what power can do, the lives it can ruin. It is complex, involved, and once you start reading it, you'll be up till two in the morning. I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked from the very first page and I couldn't put it down. I never read a better book in my life.… (more)

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The Assyrian is the first of a two-part series about Tiglath Ashur, the son of Sennacherib, who ruled as king of Assyria from 705–681 BC, Assyria's Golden Age. This hefty book begins with Tiglath's birth to a Greek concubine in Nineveh, where as a child he narrowly escapes from castration (apparently Assyrian kings would thin their herd of sons by castrating a good number of male children). From this moment on, Tiglath becomes a favorite in the eyes of the king. He trains as a soldier and leads many military campaigns against various enemies of his father the king. The battle scenes are grisly and vividly written, but pale in comparison against the horrific torture scenes. The overthrown King of Babylon and his immediate family meets a gruesome end in the streets of Nineveh, where their executioners are cheered on by a bloodthirsty crowd. I remember from my high school history class that the Assyrians were a violent and warmongering people, but this novel really brought new meaning to those words.

During the time I spent reading this book, I took numerous breaks to research Assyria. As stated above, King Sennacherib was a real person who was succeeded by his son Esarhaddon after meeting his end in a mysterious assassination. While many of the details of this ancient kingdom have been lost to time, Nicholas Guild rises to the occasion and has written a beautiful book that uses what little we do know about the Assyrians to imagine an incredible adventure story. His attention to historical detail is impressive. For example, the nobles of Assyria studied Sumerian in the same way that educated elite study Latin. During Tiglath's time in school, he learns to read and write Sumerian. The Bronze Age truly comes to life under Guild's pen.

I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel, [b:The Blood Star|1539841|The Blood Star|Nicholas Guild|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1289952740s/1539841.jpg|1532017]! ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
this is an ok read but not a real page turner. The society is described well enough. I enjoy the read at the beginning when the hero - Tiglath - ages as a young boy living with his mother in the harem to a young man in the military (after escaping being a eunuch). the story bogs down in the court intrigue and love interests in the middle and I almost gave up on the book there (not much into historical romance). However the book picks up in the last third as he is a young man making a name for himself as a commander.

The battle scenes are barely adequate..I would have liked to have seen more....not gory detail but tactics of which there don't seem to be many. There are very graphic descriptions of the tortures of prisoners and one very good section on a one-on-one duel between Tiglath and a vanquished leader with nothing to lose.

The ending was so-so. An anti-climax for me. Another character I liked was Tiglath's greek slave - Kephalos. He is loyal, cunning and provides some comic relief at times.

A decent read but could be better at times for my point of view. ( )
  Lynxear | Jul 4, 2014 |
A superb piece of historical fiction from a very competent and assured author. The Assyrians werent very popular in the ancient world because of their repuation for extreme brutality and they havent been popular with modern writers either. Guild ventures into unknown territory with a gripping story of the battle between the half-brothers Tiglath and Esarhaddon for the throne of a great Middle Eastern empire. He captures the feel of the civilization superbly, the Assyrians' casual assumption of their own superiority and their equally casual brutality is palpable. The one letdown is the cliched romance, it feels tacked- on and we are not even sure the Assyrians (or any other ancient civilization for that matter) understood the concept of love as we do anyway. But it doesnt detract from a wonderful story. This is a must-read, and I think that, like me. having read it you will feel like reading over and over. ( )
  drmaf | Aug 27, 2013 |
I really loved this book. I have searched for years for books set in Ancient Mesopotamia, so naturally when I discovered The Assyrian, I had to read it. I was swept away to a land and culture very different from my own, and this is one of those books that makes you *feel* like you are actually there. If you like Historical Fiction, or are just looking for a good read, definitely pick this book up. ( )
1 vote RainbowsEnd | May 13, 2008 |
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In ancient Assyria, Tiglath Ashur and Esarhaddon, half-brothers, best friends, and rivals for the throne, share their women, secrets, and dreams as together they seek a destiny that will change the course of the empire.
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