Christian Cameron took a novel approach with Tyrant; it is set during the reign of Alexander the Great, but the focus is elsewhere. Instead of narrowing in on the “big events” of the period, Cameron decided to show some of the other things going on while Alexander was conquering Asia. I enjoyed this different perspective.
For a protagonist, Cameron chose, or rather created, Kineas, an Athenian cavalry officer. This was a great way to tell this story. The readers don’t come into Tyrant with a “he never did that mentality,” but rather this is just another story in an easily forgotten part of the ancient Greek world by a figure who slipped through the cracks. The need to be historically accurate is no longer there; Cameron can do what he wants to whomever he wants and can avoid criticism over accuracy, as if an author writing fiction is obliged to be completely accurate.
Cameron wrote a fun story; it was easy to picture myself riding through the open grasslands with Kineas and his merry men (sorry, wrong story but the feeling was there). I always love it when the author can pull me into his or her story. There was the full gamut moving the plot along, with some great comic relief and a bit of a love story along the way for good measure.
Now, Tyrant is book one in a substantial series, six books in all. This has left me with a couple of questions: Does Tyrant stand alone without more story? Do I feel the necessity to move on with Kineas’ story? Thankfully, Tyrant can stand alone. The story is complete, and I appreciate that. Tyrant left me with some interest to follow Kineas, but not a need to do it. There are a few other book ones that I’ve read where I would go to book two before Tyrant.
All in all, Tyrant was an enjoyable story. I appreciate what Cameron did, I had a fun time with the cast of characters, but it did not leave me longing for more.