The Golden Mean, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Macedon. 367 BC. Philip II is bringing war to Persia. Forged in the warrior culture of Macedonia, the time has come for his young son Alexander to take up his inheritance of blood and obedience to the sword.

It is a training that has made the boy sadistic; fiercely brilliant, but unstable.

A dangerous trait in a king fated to rule the vastest empire of the ancient world. Compelled to teach this startling, precocious, sometimes horrifying child, Aristotle soon realises that what the boy needs most to learn - thrown before his time onto his father's battlefields - is the lesson of the golden mean, the elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy's will to conquer in this age of fighting heroes...


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I really really liked this book. It charmed me. I think it will be one of those novels you either instinctively warm to or you just don't 'get'. Your appreciation of it may also be affected by how much prior knowledge you have of Aristotle and Aristotelian thought. We discussed at my book group and those of us who loved it were in the minority. Some found it surprisingly thin on philosophy; some disliked the flashing backwards and forwards and found it difficult to follow; some found Aristotle difficult to get to know and unemotional (for me, that was the whole point to his character - something on the autism scale as we would say today). For me, it wasn't about world events or even philosophy, despite the book's title suggesting that the focus is on Aristotle's 'happy medium' approach to life. Yes, that is covered and comes into play. But, for me, essentially, the book is a portrait of a man and how he sees and interacts with the people in his life.

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