Spy-craft, betrayals, and bloody battles infuse this historical novel of Ancient Greece in the chaotic years following the death of Alexander the Great.
World on Fire is the second novel in a complex historical saga narrated by Andrikos, a young man who started his fighting career on the streets of his hometown of Illandra. As a member of the underground cult, The King’s Hand, Andrikos and his traveling companion Vettias dedicate themselves to keeping Alexander’s lineage on the throne of Macedon. The pair is a study in contrasts: Vettias, the elder, is the more hardened soldier who teaches Andrikos the arts of espionage; while Andrikos maintains a youthful idealism that is sometimes at odds with the grim necessities of war.
The lessons Andrikos learns from Vettias offer gripping scenes of surveillance, stealth, and expeditious killings. Together they must help restore Alexander’s dynasty, often posing as enemy operatives. This infiltration creates a multi-layered plot with far reaching implications on and off the battlefield.
In addition to spy-craft and bloodletting, writer Christian Kachel makes room and time to establish Andrikos as a loyal, home-loving son whom his parents trust enough to guard Alexander’s widow Rhoxane and her young son, Alexander IV, within their household despite the obvious dangers.
The arts of war form a central element of World on Fire, with vivid descriptions of ancient weaponry and hand-to-hand combat. To our delight, Kachel does not neglect the feminine, as he presents two powerful young women, both wise beyond their years: the teenage Queen of Macedon, Adea, who becomes a willing player in the plots against the enemies of Vettias and Andrikos; and Mara, Andrikos’ first love, to whom he made prior promises that he is now able to keep.
By the end of ten years of travels and intrigues, Vettias and Andrikos will see the world differently and will have played their part in making positive changes.
Kachel has staged this epic skillfully. Placing Andrikos as the narrator allows the reader to see many political and military viewpoints held by others through a young, albeit, sometimes naïve perception, and to enjoy periods of respite from war and treachery in scenes of romance, home life, and some moments of stolen passion.
Kachel, three times deployed to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, is a student of warfare who has chosen to concentrate his novelistic mastery on a sometimes neglected period of history—the aftermath of the death of Alexander the Great and resulting internecine struggles for dominance in the middle eastern region. Historians disagree on many details of this troubled era, giving Kachel free rein to explore possibilities clearly grounded in fact and research, but also informed by the author’s substantial imaginative gifts.
“A master tactician and student of war, Christian Kachel brings history to life in The Spoils of War II: World on Fire; an engaging foray into the aftermath of Alexander the Great.” – Chanticleer Reviews