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Hock was born in Singapore to Chinese parents. He studied history and classics at Brandeis and Harvard and taught the History of Modern Europe and of Asian Political Thought at the University of Malaya. He has published George Henry Lewes, a Victorian mind and "The Social and Political ideas of Tan Cheng Lock." He is married with two adult daughters and now lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. In 2010, he published a selection and translation of the Chinese classic, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms under the title "The Battle of Chibi." In 2011, he is publishing an adaptation of Lao She's "Teahouse" as "Heaven is High and the Emperor Far Away, a Play." He published "The Chinese Spymaster," the first of a planned three volume series, and "The Ingenious Judge Dee" in 2013
on Feb. 18, 2015 :
Oh boy! And I thought I had arguments and disagreements in my family.
'Agamemnon must Die' is a retelling of the Greek legend surrounding their war against the Trojans. Agamemnon was king and commander of the victorious Greek forces, whose family suffered a noxious curse laid on their house by the Gods. It is the struggle against this curse, the resulting grotesque family disputes, and appeasement with the Gods that form the basis for this fable.
Much of this book is written like a school history book, which gives it authority. Mingled with the facts are sections of bloodthirsty details, engaging action, classical sections of verse, and heart-rending sorrow; a mixture I found engrossing. The cast is huge and the names difficult to remember, but Mr Tjoa holds our hands throughout the book and provides plenty of reminders of who's who. He even supplies a list and brief description of the characters to help us along.
I highly recommend this book to all those interested in Greek mythology.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and thank Mr Tjoa for an excellent read.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Dec. 14, 2014 :
I have only a very vague memory of Greek mythology as taught in school, but I do know it wasn’t such an entertaining read as this. I recommend, though, that you read the author’s preface about the main characters and draw yourself a family tree with a few notes before you start. Those Greek monarchs and their families led very turbulent lives. By the end I had arrows all over my diagram showing who killed whom, who were lovers, and who was seeking to avenge these murders and infidelities.
It is an interesting amalgam of the thoughts, motivations and actions of a group of hot-blooded men and women, their gods and the Furies. The author often uses dialogue to keep the reader informed of relationships and relevant history; at times I got the niggling feeling that one character was telling another things they would already know, just for the benefit of the reader, but it worked well enough for me. Overall the story was very well told, with excellent characterisation and some lovely, though short, descriptive passages.
There are very few typos, which is a pleasant change these days, but I did not like the frequent lack of correct paragraphing and suitable speech tags in much of the dialogue.
(reviewed 35 days after purchase)