The story of Alexander before he became “the Great.”
Finished with schooling, Alexandros is appointed regent of Makedon while his father is away on campaign. He thrives with his new authority—this is the role he was born for—yet it creates conflict with his mother and Hephaistion. And when his soldiers, whom he leads with unexpected skill, start to call him “The Little King,” his father is less than delighted.
Tensions escalate between Alexandros and his father, and between Makedon and the city-states of southern Greece. As the drums of war sound, king and crown prince quarrel during their march to meet the Greeks in combat. Among other things, his father wants to know he can produce heirs, and thinks he should take a mistress, an idea Alexandros resists.
After the south is pacified, friction remains between Alexandros and the king. Hostilities explode at festivities for his father’s latest wedding, forcing Alexandros to flee in the middle of the night with his mother and Hephaistion. The rigors of exile strain his relationships, but the path to the throne will be his biggest challenge yet: a face-off for power between the talented young cub and the seasoned old lion.
Alexandros, better known to modern readers as Alexander the Great, returns as a young adult in the second Dancing with the Lion historical novel. Alexandros's best friend and lover, Hephaistion, provides the cool, logical counterbalance to Alexandros's fiery impulsiveness and impatience, and the two spend quite a lot of the novel navigating political intrigue and danger together as Alexandros rises and falls in the favor of his father, King Philippos. Though their relationship is a central theme of Alexandros's life, it's not at the center of the story, and though they argue and disagree like all couples, their relationship is stable and is never really in question. Once again Reames has written a lovely historical novel, but has missed the mark when it comes to what romance readers expect from the genre.