Book Review: Eromenos by: Melanie McDonald

Rating: 5/5

Publisher: Seriously Good Books

Publish Date: March 11, 2011

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Trade Paperback

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Eros and Thanatos converge in the story of a glorious youth, an untimely death, and an imperial love affair that gives rise to the last pagan god of antiquity. In this coming-of-age novel set in the second century AD, Antinous of Bithynia, a Greek youth from Asia Minor, recounts his seven-year affair with Hadrian, fourteenth emperor of Rome. In a partnership more intimate than Hadrian's sanctioned political marriage to Sabina, Antinous captivates the most powerful ruler on earth both in life and after death.

This version of the affair between the emperor and his beloved ephebe vindicates the youth scorned by early Christian church fathers as a "shameless and scandalous boy" and "sordid and loathsome instrument of his master's lust." EROMENOS envisions the personal history of the young man who achieved apotheosis as a pagan god of antiquity, whose cult of worship lasted for hundreds of years far longer than the cult of the emperor Hadrian.

In EROMENOS, the young man Antinous, whose beautiful image still may be found in museums around the world, finds a voice of his own at last. 

Review: EROMENOS is a touching and poignant story which tells the richly emotional tale of Antinous, who was Emperor Caesar Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus Augustus' companion. Antinous' story had been lost throughout time and he was only know as the youth Hadrian favored and later deified after his death. Now you get to see Rome through Antinous' eyes and Hadrian through his heart. A truly imaginative novel which brings to life ancient Rome - its culture, religion, politics, and relationships.

I felt as if EROMENOS was written perfectly to describe a relationship of unequals. A lot of fictional and non-fictional relationships are those in which the power lies mostly with one individual. It is said that sometimes one person loves more than the other, but the person who loves more doesn't hold the greater power. Antinous gave all of himself to Hadrian and while he always loved him - he did not always like him or his behavior.

EROMENOS is a riveting book, with so much history and feeling that it really came alive for me. Beautifully written, so much so that I look forward to reading Ms. McDonald's future novels. 


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