Format: E-Galley, 432 pages
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust
After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands—but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat.
Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt.
The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon's undoing.
And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome—and deadly—captor.
Empire of Dust is the second installment in author Eleanor Herman's Blood of Gods and Royals series. A series that focuses on the life and times of Alexander III of Macedon, the boy who will go on to become history's Alexander the Great. As Regent of
Macedon, Alexander fought and led his army to victory against the Aesarian Lords. Thanks to the superlative assistance from his sister Katerina, the long lost daughter, and hidden Princess, and her ability to communicate with animals, the Aesarian's were forced to run away. But, not everything is happy in Alexander land.
He's really not all that happy with his best friend Hephaestion's actions in the war. So, he ends up sending him away to Egypt alongside Katerina to find a powerful Princess. He may or may not have a traitor within his own council, so he travels to find advice from his former teacher Aristotle. His half sister Princess Cynane is missing, so he stages a rescue mission. Then, there is the
conniving, sub-plotting of his own mother Olympias, to worry about. How much can he really trust her, or those around him?
There are many different plots in this story. So, what does Herman do? She alternatives narratives between Alexander, Katerina,
Hephaestion, Olympias, Jacob, and Zofia. I have tried to shy away from each of the plots for fear of pushing against possible spoilers. I dare say that Heph has my heart and my support for what he carries with him. Herman once again mixes historical characters with fictional characters. If you are curious, the only characters that I can truly name that are not historical ones, happen to be Katerina, Jacob, and Persian Princess Zofia, who is off having her own fantastical journey.
In all honesty, authors really can't do much to make Alexander any worse or better than he already was. You can take some chances, and make him fight in imaginary battles, and that is what Herman has done in this series. That's what writing about a historical character means. You can use fictional characters to surround him with. You can add a violent Assassin's Guild that is trying to topple him, but in the end, Alexander the Great was one of the greatest leaders of all time. His actions changed the way armies do business. The way he treated enemies, was respected for centuries to come.
I am curious about the romance possibilities between Katerina and Heph. I think they both have a whole lot in common, especially the way they have been treated by Alexander and Olympias, and they are good together that I have no doubts over. I am not sure at this point why we need to have Jacob's participation in this story. Yes, he was friends with Katerina, but he has since made his choice in joining the Aesarian's. In a way, I could also say the same about Zofia who is apparently searching for a fabled creature. But, what the two different plot lines mean, and what it will have to do with Alexander, I am having a hard time understanding.
Apparently, there are two more books in this series. Reign of Serpents releases in 2017. Makes sense since Alexander doesn't officially take the crown from his father until he's 20 years old.