The Persian Boy follows the life of Alexander the Great, who died at the age of thirty-three, leaving behind an empire that stretched from Greece and Egypt to India and a new cosmopolitan model for western civilization. In this stunning work of historical fiction, Mary Renault vividly brings to life the world of this charismatic leader, his drive and ambition that created a legend, and his love affair with his boy servant.
This remarkable work traces the last seven years of Alexander’s life, from the perspective of his devoted Persian lover, the eunuch Bagoas. Not only the great king’s lover, Bagoas’s extraordinary loyalty elevated him to a key confidant. Renault shows how this Persian boy (who is based on an actual historical figure) may have understood and supported Alexander’s quest for greatness.
History was never so interesting, fun, or sexy. Renault draws the reader into these wonderful character’s lives until you feel you’re riding beside them in battle. This was one of the first novels I read that had gay protagonists, and it heavily inspired me to imagine writing my own stories with gay protagonists. I’ve read this novel four times over the last forty years, and each time has been a joy, and an education on how to write compelling fiction.