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The Lion

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Ancient Greece, 5th century BC The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens. Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war. Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you Ancient Greece, 5th century BC The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens. Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war. Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you must first win the peace. It's time for a hero to rise. For his enemies to tremble. And for Athens, a city of wisdom and warriors, to shine with glory . . .


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Ancient Greece, 5th century BC The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens. Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war. Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you Ancient Greece, 5th century BC The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens. Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war. Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you must first win the peace. It's time for a hero to rise. For his enemies to tremble. And for Athens, a city of wisdom and warriors, to shine with glory . . .

30 review for The Lion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    In this third book of Iggulden’s series, we follow the early career of Pericles, son of Xanthippus. Much of it is imagined as little is known of Pericles’ early life and many of the events of this period were unrecorded until much later. His generation followed in the footsteps of those who fought at Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis and sought to emulate their heroes. As always, I enjoyed learning a little more about life in Ancient Greece, particularly about theatre and The Festival of Dionysus In this third book of Iggulden’s series, we follow the early career of Pericles, son of Xanthippus. Much of it is imagined as little is known of Pericles’ early life and many of the events of this period were unrecorded until much later. His generation followed in the footsteps of those who fought at Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis and sought to emulate their heroes. As always, I enjoyed learning a little more about life in Ancient Greece, particularly about theatre and The Festival of Dionysus. As before, the battle scenes are exciting and are seen from both sides of the field. The horror of what soldiers faced in the days of hand to hand combat is drawn in enough detail to appreciate it without being too gory, thankfully. No doubt, the fourth book of the series will follow Pericles in his later life and I will look forward to that. 3 stars because I didn’t find it as compelling as the first two in the series. With thanks to Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House and NetGalley for a review copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    Another great read from Conn sees the Athenian navy set out to pursue the Persian forces to stop them from regrouping and building up for another attack on Greece. Lots of action and intrigue sets the scene for the final book in the series.  I can't wait. Thank you to NetGalley and Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review. Another great read from Conn sees the Athenian navy set out to pursue the Persian forces to stop them from regrouping and building up for another attack on Greece. Lots of action and intrigue sets the scene for the final book in the series.  I can't wait. Thank you to NetGalley and Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Hasler

    Little bit slow in the middle but great all the same. Looking forward to the next one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam Lofthouse

    This is, I think, the best of the three Athenian novels Conn Iggulden has written so far. The first two lacked a personal touch, very little dialogue, not much investment in the characters. This felt much more rounded, more engaging. We follow Pericles through his early adulthood, as he seeks to carve himself out a reputation to match his fathers in Athens. He fights in the fleet under the command of Cimon, a man who is both a friend and a rival to him. Together they capture the island of Cyprus This is, I think, the best of the three Athenian novels Conn Iggulden has written so far. The first two lacked a personal touch, very little dialogue, not much investment in the characters. This felt much more rounded, more engaging. We follow Pericles through his early adulthood, as he seeks to carve himself out a reputation to match his fathers in Athens. He fights in the fleet under the command of Cimon, a man who is both a friend and a rival to him. Together they capture the island of Cyprus, a bitter contest in which Pericles is wounded. We see Pericles grow as a man and as a leader. He marries, a decision he comes to regret, and even uses his family wealth to back a up and coming production in Athens, hoping to build his reputation further. The story climaxes with a fierce battle on Persian soil. Once more with the fleet, Pericles and Cimon discover a vast Persian force, being readied in secret, and immediately launch an attack, seeking to nullify their enemy before they can sail on Greece. Pericles makes a rather strange decision in the aftermath of the battle (won't spoil it here!) but there seems little reason for it. It jerked a bit as a reader, as it didn't seem it fit his character arc, and I felt left a bit of an odd ending. That being said, I will gladly read the next instalment. *ARC courtesy of Netgalley*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    The third in a series set during the Graeco-Persian wars, The Lion depicts the triumph of Cimon, the man most responsible for the defeat of Persian king, Xerxes. The story covers the formation of the Delian League (the alliance of Greek states set up to combat the Persian threat), the hostility of Sparta to Athenian leadership, and the first fracture in the alliance caused by the rebellion of Thasos. Interestingly, though, the narrative is told mostly from the point of view of Pericles, the futur The third in a series set during the Graeco-Persian wars, The Lion depicts the triumph of Cimon, the man most responsible for the defeat of Persian king, Xerxes. The story covers the formation of the Delian League (the alliance of Greek states set up to combat the Persian threat), the hostility of Sparta to Athenian leadership, and the first fracture in the alliance caused by the rebellion of Thasos. Interestingly, though, the narrative is told mostly from the point of view of Pericles, the future leader, as he begins to emerge into maturity. We watch him struggle to balance the competing claims of the war at sea, his new -and by no means submissive - wife, his family, and his friends, including the playwright Aeschylus and the philosophers, Zeno and Anaxagoras. Ultimately, this is a story about identity – on the one hand, the beginnings of Hellenic identity and on the other, the development of Pericles’ sense of himself and his purpose. As I read it against the backdrop of the current conflict in Ukraine, it seemed to me that Iggulden had done exactly what a good writer of historical fiction should: brought to life a remote chapter of the past and shown how it resonates with the present.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Roberts

    I’ve been following The Athenian series since book one, but admit this is my favourite. The Lion is more character-centred, with a steadier pace which was more engaging. I was grounded in ancient Athens in a way I lacked previously and the result was a gripping read. There is still some dual narration occurring, but The Lion primarily follows one character: Pericles. We’ve met him as a child, son of the great Xanthippus. But Pericles is grown now, a warrior in his own right determined to prove hi I’ve been following The Athenian series since book one, but admit this is my favourite. The Lion is more character-centred, with a steadier pace which was more engaging. I was grounded in ancient Athens in a way I lacked previously and the result was a gripping read. There is still some dual narration occurring, but The Lion primarily follows one character: Pericles. We’ve met him as a child, son of the great Xanthippus. But Pericles is grown now, a warrior in his own right determined to prove his worth – to his father, his friends, but especially to himself. Pericles is a strong main character. He has strengths and weaknesses, but is a good man determined to prove his worth. He has a strong legacy to live up to due to his father’s actions but fighting is in his blood. Even after an opportunity to settle down to married life, he can’t resist the call to stand by his friends against impossible odds. There’s a passing of a generation this this. Xanthippus’ time is done, and while Themistocles is still as cunning as ever, he knows this is no longer his battle. The younger men are proving they can handle the burden. Sticking with Pericles rather than a constant shift of characters means you get to know and like him – a major point lacking from the first books. While there’s still the divide between the fighting and a more peaceful life, the pacing and tension is smoother this time. The war is interweaved throughout the book as a whole, always there in the background. There is also less politics and backstabbing – one of the reasons I struggled to connect to the characters previously. It did lean towards in that direction towards the end, but I’m hoping it’s a ploy. It will be frustrating to have a repeat of prior storylines. The battles are set far from home this time. While this is by no means a ‘light’ story, it’s also not as dark as the previous two. Not witnessing the heartbreak of seeing your home, your city, fall to invaders knowing it’s going to be impossible to keep them out, changes the tone. The Athenians are taking the fight to them, and it changes the mood. There’s an undercurrent of hope and determination, rather than the helplessness prevalent beforehand. Whether it’s due to getting to know the characters, the smoother pacing or just fewer confusing jumps between the narrators, I really enjoyed The Lion. It offers an insight into life as an Athenian at that time: not just war, but the more pleasurable aspects of life; friendships, laughter, the fun of putting on a new play and seeing a society coming together, united under a cause. A strong third book in an engaging series. Iggulden’s writing goes from strength to strength and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story arc for young Pericles and his friends goes in the next book. A good series for anyone interested in ancient Athens.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve Wilkerson

    An excellent fictional telling of the career of Cimon, the founding of the Delian League (478 BCE), and the continuation of the Greek war with the Persians, told from the perspective of Pericles, the lion of Athens, as he launches his career. It follows Iggulden's The Protector, an account of the Battle of Salamis (480 BCE) which drove the Persians out of Athens and out of the Aegean. It starts with a scene of Pausanias, the Spartan who led the Greeks to victory at Plataea (479 BCE) being given An excellent fictional telling of the career of Cimon, the founding of the Delian League (478 BCE), and the continuation of the Greek war with the Persians, told from the perspective of Pericles, the lion of Athens, as he launches his career. It follows Iggulden's The Protector, an account of the Battle of Salamis (480 BCE) which drove the Persians out of Athens and out of the Aegean. It starts with a scene of Pausanias, the Spartan who led the Greeks to victory at Plataea (479 BCE) being given command of the Greek fleet. He is accused of taking a bribe by the Greeks and rushes to Sparta to defend himself against the accusations. The Athenians take control of the Delian fleet under the command of Cimon. Iggulden recounts Cimon’s successes against the pirates of Scyros and the Persians at Cyprus. The story ends with the battle of Eurymedon River (470 BCE), a combined river and ground battle in which the Greeks destroy the Persian fleet and rout their army. The failures of Xerxes I to conquer the Greeks result in his assassination by his own people. As the Greeks return home from their victories, there is an unnecessary conquest of the island kingdom of Thasos which had refused to pay the pledged allotment to the League. The incident provides a perspective on Cimon’s ruthlessness. Iggulden is a terrific story teller. His characters are believable; the dialogue intelligent and not overdone as too often happens in historical fiction; the battle scenes are tense and realistic.

  8. 4 out of 5

    PETER MICHAEL

    Conn Iggulden remains one of my five favourite authors and I get really excited when he publishes a new book. This novel is a smooth transition from his previous series about the war between the Greeks and the Persians and has a number of the previous key players. There are a number of new characters that remained on the periphery of the main story and whom we learn little about by the end of the book. Perhaps we shall know more about them as the series develops. Pericles, the main protagonist is Conn Iggulden remains one of my five favourite authors and I get really excited when he publishes a new book. This novel is a smooth transition from his previous series about the war between the Greeks and the Persians and has a number of the previous key players. There are a number of new characters that remained on the periphery of the main story and whom we learn little about by the end of the book. Perhaps we shall know more about them as the series develops. Pericles, the main protagonist is shown as a complex character who has a number of interesting personality flaws. I found it extraordinary that a toughened warrior could also be so enthralled and engaged by the Greek theatre. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I have all the other Iggulden books. It took a long while to get me totally absorbed in the plot and the machinations of the Athenian polticians. The battle scenes, as always, are gripping and enjoyably bloody! I hope the next episode in the series is not quite so slow.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Evans

    Conn Iggulden takes us back to the 5th BC and the start of an epic saga between Greece and Persia. Both sides are spoiling for war and it’s the perfect time for a hero. Pericles. A young man who lead from the front. A man who sees in the value in peace however knows war is inevitable. He must become someone that makes his enemy tremble with fear. He must become the Lion of Athens. Once again another masterclass in historical fiction by the man who sets the bar. A complex story that flows effortles Conn Iggulden takes us back to the 5th BC and the start of an epic saga between Greece and Persia. Both sides are spoiling for war and it’s the perfect time for a hero. Pericles. A young man who lead from the front. A man who sees in the value in peace however knows war is inevitable. He must become someone that makes his enemy tremble with fear. He must become the Lion of Athens. Once again another masterclass in historical fiction by the man who sets the bar. A complex story that flows effortlessly. The author has the knack to draw the reader into the period and to entice them with a great story. Another five star book by one best in the business. Superb.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Harry Preston

    The story follows a young Athenian trying to step out of his fathers shadow and make a name for himself in Athens. We see many sides of this young man’s personality as he completes different stages of his life achieving different successes and companionships. I love the way in which the story follows a historical time line, with characters, events and details mainly drawn from previous literature. A really enthralling read and I can’t wait for the next instalment! As a reader who has not read th The story follows a young Athenian trying to step out of his fathers shadow and make a name for himself in Athens. We see many sides of this young man’s personality as he completes different stages of his life achieving different successes and companionships. I love the way in which the story follows a historical time line, with characters, events and details mainly drawn from previous literature. A really enthralling read and I can’t wait for the next instalment! As a reader who has not read the previous Iggulden Athenian books I had no trouble at all getting engrossed in this new series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helen Precious

    Conn Iggulden has written yet another book following the fortunes of soldiers during combat int he Ancient World. If you are a fan then Lion will be to your liking. Lion follows Pericles as he learns the art of warfare and leadership at the very beginnings of his 'legend'. Strife amongst the rank and file adds intrigue and Pericles chosen wife adds some spice to the proceedings. However, after recently reading a glut of other Greek historical fiction I feel that this is perhaps too focussed on t Conn Iggulden has written yet another book following the fortunes of soldiers during combat int he Ancient World. If you are a fan then Lion will be to your liking. Lion follows Pericles as he learns the art of warfare and leadership at the very beginnings of his 'legend'. Strife amongst the rank and file adds intrigue and Pericles chosen wife adds some spice to the proceedings. However, after recently reading a glut of other Greek historical fiction I feel that this is perhaps too focussed on the strategy and military precision to really capture the reader and 'compel you to care for the men at war.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Book Review - The Lion by Conn Iggulden ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ With thanks to @netgalley and @penguinrandomhouse for the ARC. Lion is the first in Iggulden's new Golden Age series, though it follows on from the Athenian series. This follows young Pericles after the Greek victories of Salamis and Plataea as he tries to make a name for himself and step out of his father's shadow. -- As you know, I love all things ancient history so this was exactly my cup of tea. Conn Iggulden is one of those authors who you can Book Review - The Lion by Conn Iggulden ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ With thanks to @netgalley and @penguinrandomhouse for the ARC. Lion is the first in Iggulden's new Golden Age series, though it follows on from the Athenian series. This follows young Pericles after the Greek victories of Salamis and Plataea as he tries to make a name for himself and step out of his father's shadow. -- As you know, I love all things ancient history so this was exactly my cup of tea. Conn Iggulden is one of those authors who you can rely on telling a great story, weaving fact and fiction seamlessly - and this is no exception. He brings ancient Greece to life and the battlescenes are BREATHTAKING. There is a great balance with character / plot development and the political machinations are well explored, adding an extra layer. There was a pronunciation guide and who's who at the beginning of the book - honestly, I am one of those pedantic people who will sit debating with myself on how to pronounce words in my head for far too long, so this was much appreciated 🤣🤣 This is out on 26th May.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Jones

    I've been a huge fan of Conn Iggulden's ever since I picked up "Wolf of the plains" many years ago and none of his books have ever disappointed, though some are better than others. For me, this is where he's at his best, writing about ancient history and in this case, the Greek/Persian wars around 500BC. I devoured this book in 2 days losing some valuable writing time of my own, but boy was it worth it. I think another reviewer commented that it was a little slow in the middle and I wouldn't dis I've been a huge fan of Conn Iggulden's ever since I picked up "Wolf of the plains" many years ago and none of his books have ever disappointed, though some are better than others. For me, this is where he's at his best, writing about ancient history and in this case, the Greek/Persian wars around 500BC. I devoured this book in 2 days losing some valuable writing time of my own, but boy was it worth it. I think another reviewer commented that it was a little slow in the middle and I wouldn't disagree with that and it's the reason I didn't give this a 5* rating, but the action this is sandwiched between is awesome and extremely well written and I can't wait for the final book in the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    You already know what I'm going to say about this one. Conn Iggulden can't seem to put a foot wrong when it comes to historical fiction. There's always excellent writing, plenty of action, fascinating characters, scene setting that's out of this world, and a quick sand plots that drag you right down into the stories. "Lion" has it all, plus a bit extra. You'll have to read it to find out what the "extra" is! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily an You already know what I'm going to say about this one. Conn Iggulden can't seem to put a foot wrong when it comes to historical fiction. There's always excellent writing, plenty of action, fascinating characters, scene setting that's out of this world, and a quick sand plots that drag you right down into the stories. "Lion" has it all, plus a bit extra. You'll have to read it to find out what the "extra" is! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Allison Valentine

    There is no denying that I love Conn Iggulden books. He has such a way to bring history to life in ever novel he writes. We are in the third series that follows Pericles the son of Xanthippus, whilst we van only imagine the early life of Pericles and everything that he went through. Iggulden has yet again introduced use to more history including people that have fought at Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae. The author always brings so much more to the history of his books. I wish he was my history t There is no denying that I love Conn Iggulden books. He has such a way to bring history to life in ever novel he writes. We are in the third series that follows Pericles the son of Xanthippus, whilst we van only imagine the early life of Pericles and everything that he went through. Iggulden has yet again introduced use to more history including people that have fought at Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae. The author always brings so much more to the history of his books. I wish he was my history teacher/professor.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aria Harlow

    I really enjoyed this book. It was my first by this author but after reading this book it wont be my last. well written with a compellng storyline that had obviously been incredibly well researched and well developed characters that all added to the plot or atmosphere in some way. The knowledge in the book was high level without feeling like a text book, I am an Ebglish Literature/History major and I leart a lot from this book and it didnt even feel like learning. I really loved it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marie (UK)

    I do enjoy the way Conn Iggulden writes and this is no different. He has taken a difficult subject and a huge cast of characters and drawn together a narrative with real force. I don't think this has the continuous pace that other books of his do. They are times when the narrative seems slow. Overall though it is still agreat read I do enjoy the way Conn Iggulden writes and this is no different. He has taken a difficult subject and a huge cast of characters and drawn together a narrative with real force. I don't think this has the continuous pace that other books of his do. They are times when the narrative seems slow. Overall though it is still agreat read

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keven Seymour Perrett

    Heroic but Arrogant The resurrection of Athens and the defeat of Xerxes is well described but so is the continuing lust for Athens to dominate the newly formed Delian League even after the fall of the Persian agression. Next comes the war with Spata and another opportunity for Iggulden to spin his mesmeric tales. Lead on!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I'm always fascinated by Conn Iggulden's stories and this one is gripping and fascinating. Pericles is one of my favorite historical characters and this fast paced book re-imagine his early life. The characters and the historical background are well developed and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine I'm always fascinated by Conn Iggulden's stories and this one is gripping and fascinating. Pericles is one of my favorite historical characters and this fast paced book re-imagine his early life. The characters and the historical background are well developed and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

    That's a pretty epic book, absolute page turner but it does have a bit of a quite period in the middle, that seemed a bit weird but knowing that the book is based on real events I done a little bit of googling and it all made sense. That's a pretty epic book, absolute page turner but it does have a bit of a quite period in the middle, that seemed a bit weird but knowing that the book is based on real events I done a little bit of googling and it all made sense.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jake Lewis

    I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next one in the series as I think thats where we will get to a 5 star book! I think older Pericles will be even more interesting than young Pericles! A great read for anybody who loved The Gates of Athens or Protector

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Moren

    Another informative and absorbing story about the wars between the Persians, Athenians and Spartans. Non stop action and intrigue. A great cast of characters, even if of a bloodthirsty mien. The Historical additions at the make it all real. I look forward to the finale.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie Friar

    Pericles’ friend Cimon leads the fleet in defence of the seas against another Persian attack. History in brought to life with every emotion as we follow Pericles and Cimon at this time. Brilliant read enjoy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Mccann

    Love Conn Iggulden and this almost a continuation of his Athenian trilogy is a better. Rousing and well written . The story of Pericles and of Cimon . Brilliant. Cannot wait gor the next one .

  25. 5 out of 5

    Len Storrow

    Another great book on the golden age of Greece Could not put the book down. The characters are so believable and engrossing. Another great Conn Iggulden novel and series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    K.E Taylor

    Brilliant as ever I always respect this author for his honesty in blending history with entertainment. I always look forward to his next release.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Neville Townsend

    A pulsating novel full of bloody battles well drawn characters and political machinations, unputdownable epic of a novel. I received this book from Penquin Random House via Netgalley for a review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark O'Rourke

  29. 5 out of 5

    Will

  30. 4 out of 5

    William. P. Knill

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