Realm by Alexandrea Weis is a historical tale about Roxana, the daughter of a Bactrian chieftain, who captures the heart of the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great. Roxana is a spirited sixteen-year-old teen with exceptional beauty and love for horses. After her city is captured by the Greeks, Roxana dances for Alexander and instantly intrigues him with her fiery spirit and captivating mind. Despite the objections of his generals, Alexander marries Roxana, considered a foreigner and barbarian, and he promises to show the world to her. She willingly gives Alexander all he desires and finds profound happiness to be a part of his vision and journeys. However, she must compete for his attention with other sexual partners and with his obsession for greatness. Everything changes when Alexander suddenly dies, and his generals strive to take parts of the Greek-conquered kingdoms for themselves. The stigma that Roxana is considered a Persian barbarian, though she is queen, have dire consequences on her and her son sired by Alexander.
Weis has skillfully written an ancient historical tale told primarily from Roxana’s viewpoint, although other points of views are interjected to enhance the story. Dialogue primarily carries the story. Nonetheless, there are vivid descriptions of the caravans of supplies and families following the Greek warriors and the landscapes they traverse. The tension from political infighting and warfare is kept at a distance and mostly discussed in conversations. Roxana is an interesting historical figure to explore, but her fate is ultimately controlled by the ambitious men who surround her.
Realm is an engaging historical tale with elements of steamy romance about Roxana’s impact on Alexander’s legacy. Readers interested in the Greek conqueror and the people who influenced him will enjoy this book.