- Gebundene Ausgabe: 384 Seiten
- Verlag: St Martin's Press (Juli 2001)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0312876602
- ISBN-13: 978-0312876609
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,5 x 3,4 x 25,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.180.176 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Over the Wine-Dark Sea (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Juli 2001
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Rhodes, 310 BC. Greek traders dominate the Eastern Mediterranean, from Italy and Carthage in the west to the Levant in the east. The great Alexander is thirteen years dead, and his feuding generals gaze covetously at one another's portions of empire. Amidst mounting tension, the trading city of Rhodes is prosperous - and studiedly neutral. There in Rhodes, Menedemos is a young, daring sea captain; scholarly, reserved Sostratos is his cousin. Their fathers jointly own a merchant galley, the Aphrodite, and they expect Menedemos and Sostratos to use it to enrich their families. But now the cousins plan their largest, most audacious trading voyage yet, which will take them from the shores of Asia Minor all the way to the coasts of faraway Italy, and to confrontations with the barbarians of an obscure town called "Rome." Each of them has strengths the other lacks. Now, in the troubled waters off of Sicily, they face a chance at untold riches...if they can evade the massed strength of the Carthaginian fleet.
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Instead, it's an easy-going, highly entertaining tale of two merchants from the "free and autonomous" polis of Rhodes. Menedemos and Sostratos are in charge of a merchantship, and they are about as similar as fire and water -- Menedemos chases skirts (especially those of married women) as avidly as Sostratos chases knowledge and history. But they prove an excellent team as traders, in the often recurring dickerings over prices, the strategies of plotting where to go and how to turn a newly acquired item into a profit. And since the particular interests of the lead characters inevitably find them in troublesome spots, there are plenty of occasions for them to quarrel, with Menedemos quoting Homer and Sostratos firing sophistries back.
The high points of the book are the presence of peafowl, completely new to this area and therefore valuable -- as well as stubborn, dirty, and annoying, cause for a good deal of comedy --, and then the journey to an Italy still ruled by Greeks rather than the obscure backwater people named "Romans".
Turteltaub delves deeply into the functionality of the times, such as the tools, the way ship travel worked in those days as well as the ideas and mannerisms -- and for that he relies more on dialogue than lengthy examinations that take us away from the characters. Thus he re-creates the world of 310 B.C. in full bloom, such as any fantasy or science-fiction author has to manage.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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Menedemos and Sostratos, like the 'Publisher's Weekly' review here on Amazon says, never rise above their station as opposites of one another before the tale concludes. Time and again, the author reminds the reader of the strengths and weaknesses of both, but fails to explore the reasons for the former, nor to deliver any real progression for the characters to overcome the latter.
While the author has obviously done significant research on the time period, and on the trade business of the classical Greeks, one would think that an author such as H.N. Turteltaub (also Harry Turteldove), with such a catalogue of works already generated would produce something a bit more indepth in making a genre-jump from his usual fare.
I found the business about the 'peafowl' to be far too dragged out overall, though it is the crown jewel of their trade voyage, and found myself rolling my eyes and skimming pages each time they were brought up again...as comic relief they work briefly, but the author relies on the squawking birds to 'entertain'a bit too often. There are also several references to a possible attack of pirates, and considering the solution employed by the cousins,...it's lively the first time, but when used more than once...it's simply repetitious.
For a reader looking for adventure-lite in the lives of the ancient Greeks...this will serve it's purpose...but for those wishing for more enlightenment and exploration into the era the story is set in, I would recommend other authors, such as Mary Renault, and Steven Pressfield.
However, I have also picked up 'The Gryphon's Skull', the next of the author's 'Hellenistic Seafaring Adventures' and have high hopes that perhaps like a fine wine...the tales improve with age.
Harry Turtledove, using his Turtletraub pen name, makes a couple of Greeks come alive. Alexander is dead, Rome is still a minor-league bunch of barbarians, and the wine-dark sea is still waiting for Jack Aubrey, Steven Maturin and the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
One cousin quotes Homer, but loves the most off-color bits of Aristophanes. The second would like to write like Thucydides or maybe Socrates, but can never see what the crew of armed oarsman will think or do - until after his cousin has effortlessly made them do it his way.
WARNING - you may find yourself reaching for books you always heard about, but never thought you'd want to read.