Coral Smith (coral_67) wrote,
Coral Smith

The Lost Army by Valerio Massimo Manfredi

When Abisag and her friends witness their neighbours stoning a woman who comes into the village one day, they find themselves curious about her. They sneak out at night to go and see her body only to find that she isn’t dead.

Dragging her to an abandoned hut outside the village, Abisag and her friends nurse the woman – whose name they learn is Abira – back to health.

Abira gifts them with her story. She was young and betrothed to marry when an army came through the village. Xeno was a soldier in that army and though they didn’t speak the same language they fell in love. When the army left, Abira left her family and her life behind to follow the army that would come to be known as the Ten Thousand.

I enjoyed this book more than this author’s Alexander trilogy. The style of writing drew me into the story right away. It was the style that kept me going after I lost interest in the story itself.

I think the main problem for me with this story was Abira and how she was propped up as this brilliant character to the detriment of every other character. I guess I already had a low opinion of the character when she started, for no apparent reason, headlong into a battle only to change her mind when she realized what a battle actually was. But then she’s the one who figures everything out. She can see the trap but not the army commanders. She knows who the spy is that everyone else trusts. She can see the bigger trap coming for the army that no one else does. It makes all of the other characters seem stupid just so she can be the smart one.

I thought the ending was unrealistic and kind of came out of nowhere.

It’s a shame, because I love Xenophon and the Ten Thousand and for the first half of the story, until their employer died, it was a really solid story. But once they start their long march home, it becomes everything I described above and I just started hating it.

Grade: D

Tags: book reviews, grade d, valerio massimo manfredi

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