Before the Dawn of Alexander the Great
Daneion Pelos is a Greek physician and peddler. In his travels, he meets Olympias, a princess of Epirus and descendant of Achilles, who lives in an armed camp. Her mother was killed by the priests, and Olympias is told that after she marries and gives birth, the priests will also kill her. Renamed as Wallis, Daneion acts as Olympias’s advisor and doctor.
When Olympias decides to marry Philip of Macedon, Wallis, who loves Olympias, is distraught and leaves her camp. He starts a journey with his sidekick Palo and their trusty donkey, Spitter, wandering far to the north, to the original home of his people near the Danube River. There he meets members of a tribe called The People of the Trees who foretell Wallis’s pivotal role in the future of civilization. Wallis becomes increasingly sensitized to his own visions, and although he does not understand them, he realizes he must return to Olympias.
This is the first installment in Turner’s planned trilogy about Alexander the Great, a prequel if you will. Turner has done her research, and she succeeds in the formidable task of melding historical fact, fiction and fantasy into one cohesive storyline. Suspension of disbelief is an absolute requirement. However, even if the reader is tolerant of alternate history, there are other problems in the book. I found Turner’s use of Greek spelling for places and people distracting. Also, there are many tangential characters in this book that do nothing to advance the plot. I found myself liking Spitter, the donkey, more than I liked any of the human characters. He is smart, insightful and dependable. This is probably not a good sign.