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Old 06-22-2009, 11:17 AM   #1
purl4peace
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Need help "grabbing the intrest" of 12-year-old boy

I have an extremely bright 12-year-old boy who is fascinated by ancient greek battles -- Thermopylae is his favorite. He blew through the Rick Riordan series with each book taking him about a day to read.

Right now, he is reading the Demonata series by Darren Shan.

I had tried Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield thinking that as a novel about Thermopylae but the writing style is just a bit too heavy for him (I had to admit that I couldn't get into it either).

So now I see that David Gemmell has a trilogy written about Troy as well as Lion of Macedon -- at first glance, the stories seem like they would be right up my son's ally.

However, I'm wondering if the writing style would be too complex for him to where he would get bogged down like the Steven Pressfield books.

Does anyone have any experience having read David Gemmell and whether the writing style is accessible to a somewhat precocious 12-year-old.

If not, based on what I have written here, any other recommendations to get him sucked into another series? (The clock is ticking -- I figure I have about 1.5 weeks before he has worked his way through the whole Demonata series!)

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and your help.

Best regards,
Nancy
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:32 PM   #2
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Can't help you on the e(book) front, but you could get him the 300 graphic novel?
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:06 PM   #3
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Hi Sir Bruce,

I'll have to look into that.

Suggestions don't necessarily have to be ebooks -- just figured this audience would be widely read enough to help out with any reading suggestions (ebooks or pbooks) (though I have given him my Cybook and he's reading his current books on that.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:12 PM   #4
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It's not ancient Greek, but perhaps the Belisarius Saga by Eric Flint and David Drake might appeal.

http://www.webscription.net/c-21-bel...ric-flint.aspx

The first book is available in the free library, and it's being republished in three omnibus volumes.

Or perhaps Ranks of Bronze - Romans in space.

http://www.webscription.net/p-605-ranks-of-bronze.aspx

I can't remember any explicit sex scenes in the books, but they might have faded from my memory. They're certainly pretty violent in places.

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Originally Posted by purl4peace View Post
I have an extremely bright 12-year-old boy who is fascinated by ancient greek battles -- Thermopylae is his favorite. He blew through the Rick Riordan series with each book taking him about a day to read.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:14 PM   #5
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Has he read Heinlein? Anything Heinlein wrote before Starship Troopers would be great for a twelve year old. I recommend Have Spacesuit Will Travel as a starter book.
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:31 PM   #6
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Does he like SF? Andre Norton's Star Guard was loosely based on the Anabasis of Xenophon, and is available as part of one of Baen's Norton twofers (Star Soldiers, I think).
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Old 06-22-2009, 01:38 PM   #7
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I would recommend Tamora Pierce's "The song of the Lioness" books:


from wiki:

The Song of the Lioness

Alanna of Trebond (later Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau), is a ground-breaking female knight. Although noble-born girls traditionally go to the convent to learn how to be proper noblewomen and wives, Alanna desires to become a knight, a position only given to noble-born boys (although, as seen in the Provost's Dog books, there had historically been other lady knights). In order to achieve her dream, Alanna disguises herself as a boy under the name of Alan and goes to the palace in place of her twin brother Thom. As Thom has no interest in becoming a knight, and is far more interested in his magic, Thom goes to the convent in place of Alanna, to become a sorcerer. The twins' father is concerned only with his studies, and pays them little attention, which helps their masquerade. He is also very strongly against magic, as he believed that it should have saved his wife when she died in childbirth, so he is opposed to the idea of Thom becoming a sorcerer. Alanna has a few relationships thoughout the series, including Prince Jonathon, George Cooper and Liam Ironarm. The series follows Alanna's training and the early years of her knighthood, a timespan of ten years.


Also very good are the works from Alexander Lloys:

The Chronicles of Prydain is a five-volume series of children's fantasy novels by author Lloyd Alexander. The stories detail the adventures of a young man named Taran, who is awarded the honor of Assistant Pig-Keeper but dreams of being a grand hero, and his companions Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam the wandering bard and king, a feral yet gentle creature called Gurgi, and a dwarf named Doli.


I devoured these books at about 12 I think...

cheers,

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Old 06-22-2009, 01:50 PM   #8
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You could try one of the novels based on Xenophon's Anabasis. The wikipedia entry on Xenophon says:
Quote:
Xenophon's birth date is uncertain, but most scholars agree that he was born around 430 BC near the city of Athens, in the city-state of Attica which is known today as Modern Greece.[1] Xenophon was born into the ranks of the upper classes, thus granting him access to certain privileges of the aristocracy of ancient Attica. While a young man, Xenophon participated in the expedition led by Cyrus the Younger against his older brother, the emperor Artaxerxes II of Persia, in 401 BC. Xenophon writes that he had asked the veteran Socrates for advice on whether to go with Cyrus, and that Socrates referred him to the divinely inspired Delphic oracle. Xenophon's query to the oracle, however, was not whether or not to accept Cyrus' invitation, but "to which of the gods he must pray and do sacrifice, so that he might best accomplish his intended journey and return in safety, with good fortune." The oracle answered his question and told him to which gods to pray and sacrifice. When Xenophon returned to Athens and told Socrates of the oracle's advice, Socrates chastised him.


Route of Xenophon and the Ten Thousand
Under the pretext of fighting Tissaphernes, Cyrus assembled a massive army composed of native Persian soldiers, but also a large number of Greeks, whom he viewed as superior fighters. Prior to waging war against the emperor, Cyrus proposed that the enemy was the Pisidians, and so the Greeks were unaware that they were to battle against the larger army of King Artaxerxes II. At Tarsus the soldiers became aware of Cyrus' plans to dispose of the king, and as a result refused to continue. Clearchus, however, convinced the Greeks to continue with the expedition. The army of Cyrus met the army of Artaxerxes II in the Battle of Cunaxa. Despite effective fighting by the Greeks, Cyrus was killed in the battle. Shortly thereafter, the Greek general Clearchus of Sparta was invited to a peace conference, where, alongside four other generals and many captains, he was betrayed and executed. The mercenaries, known as the Ten Thousand, found themselves without leadership far from the sea, deep in hostile territory near the heart of Mesopotamia. They elected new leaders, including Xenophon himself, and fought their way north through hostile Persians, Armenians, and Kurds to Trapezus on the coast of the Black Sea. They then made their way westward back to Greece. Once there, they helped Seuthes II make himself king of Thrace, before being recruited into the army of the Spartan general Thibron.
Xenophon's book Anabasis ("The Expedition" or "The March Up Country") is his record of the entire expedition against the Persians and the journey home. It is worth noting that the Anabasis was used as a field guide by Alexander the Great during the early phases of his expedition into Persia.
There are lots of choices. Some are historical (set in Ancient Greece). Two SF standouts are "March Upcountry" (and sequels) by Weber and Ringo and "Star Guard" by Andre Norton (which is the first of two novels in the Omnibus volume "Star Soldiers"). Both of these are available for free (and DRM-free and multi-format) at the Baen Free Library. Either look for the titles, or click on the 'authors' link.

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Old 06-23-2009, 05:32 AM   #9
Peadar Ó Guilín
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12 year old boys (and girls) tend to love Jonathon Stroud's Bartimaeus series. Start with The Amulet of Samarkand. It's not Greek battles -- it's closer to Darren Shan.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:01 AM   #10
zelda_pinwheel
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hm, i'm not sure whether this would be accessible to a 12-year old, but have you tried giving him Homer's Oddyssey ? i read it when i was around 24 or 25, so older than your son, but i remember it being absolutely gripping, so much so that one day i was reading it on the metro on my way to work, and when i got to my station i got off and sat down on the quai to keep reading because i couldn't bear to stop until i got to the end of the scene.

i read it in french so i can't help you with a version but i seem to remember there was a discussion of it around here before, if you do a search you might turn it up.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:30 AM   #11
pilotbob
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Try Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Excellent book... all my family loved it.

BOb
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
Try Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Excellent book... all my family loved it.

BOb
I'll second this recommendation - it's a great book. And the protagonists are a bunch of precocious children
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #13
Sparrow
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Mary Renault's 'Alexander Trilogy' is some of the best historical fiction I've ever read.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:51 AM   #14
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Edit.

Last edited by dadioflex; 12-16-2010 at 03:38 AM.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:12 AM   #15
Xenophon
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What dadioflex said. That was, in fact, one of the novels I was thinking of... but I couldn't dredge up the reference from the virtual landfill that passes for my memory.

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