Traces: Birth of Alexander the Great
This book is second in a series that tells the story of the events surrounding, and people involved with, the birth of Alexander of Macedonia around 356 BC. Daneion, a peddler trained in the art of healing, narrates the story. He is also the personal physician to Olympias, who eventually marries King Philip of Macedonia and gives birth to Alexander. Most of the plot deals with Daneion’s search for food for the starving people of Athens, who have been suffering through a drought. To accomplish his task, he travels the Aegean Sea region while personally attending to Olympias as she prepares for her marriage to Philip and, later, Alexander’s birth. Running throughout the story is an undercurrent of magic and mystery surrounding Alexander’s paternity, as well as premonitions of a Celtic priesthood about the future son of Olympias.
I read the first book, Before the Dawn, prior to reading Traces, and found it the better and more interesting novel of the two. Although this novel can stand alone, I would recommend reading Before the Dawn first because it provides greater explanation on the mystical Celtic prophecy about Alexander the Great. Also, Daneion’s relationship with Olympias is explained in greater detail. The author did a fine job with her research on the culture and political intrigue of the ancient Greek world, although she bases the conception and birth of Alexander on myth and conjecture.