There was once another world superpower that was a great melting pot of cultures, a champion of human rights, a forerunner in transit, communication, an economic reformer and a codifier of laws. It was an empire built in the pursuit of unity and the expulsion of evil. Indeed, its architects believed themselves ordained to enforce the will of good; that, in order to ensure peace prevailed on earth, they, as its mandated guardians, had to rule it. The kingdom flourished. Its standard, the eagle, was esteemed by those encompassed by its borders. Its leaders were respected as wise and benevolent, with little exception. Bearing this in mind, one can imagine the incredulity felt throughout the empire when an enemy few had ever heard of crossed the sea and set one of their prestigious capitals afire. The tragedy was labeled an unprovoked attack, perpetrated by evildoers, and incited a near-unanimous demand for revenge. The call would later be satisfied by an ambitious visionary. Little did he know, in bringing to fruition the uncompleted plans of his predecessor, his father, he would also fulfill Biblical prophesy. 'Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all, and by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia." Daniel 11:2 To the Persians, this imperial ruler was known as Khashayarshah, 'King of Heroes'. To the Hebrews, he was Ahasuerus, who married the Biblical Esther and crowned her queen. To the Greeks, he was a force believed unstoppable, whose name wassynonymous with Ares and Zeus -- Xerxes. In 480 B.C., Xerxes led an unprecedented army of nations on a retributive attack against Athens in what would come to be known as the second Greco-Persian War. While one of the most famed campaigns in history, notably for the Battle of Thermopylae, its profundity has been lost in translation and minimized as failed exercise in hegemony. This myopic perception continues to be perpetuated in print, art and on the screen. Greece, at that time, was an extremely fractured nation. Its city-states were constantly at odds with one another. Greek exiles from prominent houses, former and reigning kings entreated Xerxes to take up their cause: to invade the country and bring it into the empire's fold. They were not the only ones begging his ear. The cry for punitive action against the evildoers of Athens continued to sound. Talk of destiny and ideology resonated and ultimately convinced him that military action was not only necessary, but the moral, fated course to take. He would wage war against enemies of the empire and rebuild a nation, too. At least.that was the plan. These events and their consequences have been debated by archeologists, Biblical scholars and other historians for over two millenniums. They have also inspired numerous artisans, including Rembrandt van Rijn, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and the baroque composer, George Frederick Handel. Now, in her 'novelized" screenplay, Xerxes , author Ren A. Hakim tells the tale of the most feared and revered figure of his time, breathing new life into the emperor -- revealing the man. Whether one is a lover of history, action and adventure, spicy intrigue, romance, or looking to take a palpable journey with an identifiable character, they will find what they seek in Xerxes. Deeply moving and richly-layered, it is provocative story which fits many genres, explores timeless themes, and illustrates a past so shockingly parallel with the present, it may change the way people view the current state of world affairs.
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