In her historical fiction novel, Realm, (Vesuvian) Alexandrea Weis takes us back to the ancient world where men revered their gods, conquerors were kings and the fate of an empire lay on the battlefield.
Alexander the Great might be described by some as one of history’s most successful military leaders, but it was his wife, Roxana, who was perhaps the only one who knew the man behind the armor. By telling Roxana’s story, Weis gives us a glimpse into the life of a queen and presents an intriguing and unique take on the relationship between Alexander and his Persian bride.
Roxana is a young woman in a conquered territory when Alexander first lays eyes on her. Of both Greek and Persian blood, the Baron Oxyartes’ daughter is strong-willed, naïve, stubborn and also her father’s favorite treasure.
Alexander is instantly possessed by the Baron’s “little star,” the stunning woman in gold with fire in her eyes that he can’t help but admire. She challenges his marriage proposal, not wanting to relinquish her freedom or become an object of ridicule in a world governed by Greeks, but he fights for her, determined to win her affections. Alexander vows she will always be safe with him and free to be her true self. He promises to show her the world, and Roxana pledges her life to a king.
She follows her husband and his best friend and general, Hephaestion, from Persia to India and then Macedon. As they conquer more and more lands, Roxana finds the love she never thought she would, with Alexander. The three of them form a bond that sustains a kingdom, and Roxana learns the complexities involved in merging two cultures under one rule.
But Alexander’s many victories aren’t enough to quench his thirst for war. His ambition drags Roxana further into the fray and it’s not long before disaster looms. For the first time, Roxana is forced to think not only of herself, but also of the future of her unborn child in the chaotic world Alexander has created. In a country rife with war and mutiny she must decide who she can trust, and how she will protect the ones she loves.
Roxana’s is a story worth telling, and Weis makes this clear by ensuring that her perspective takes precedence over Alexander’s point of view. She’s a survivor. Roxana may not be the heroine you expect, but she’s a character whose trials and sacrifices you’ll come to understand. I appreciated that about this work. Though she never lifts a sword, you know Roxana is a fighter. Her spirit and loyalty shine through, and her influence over those closest to the king becomes more evident as she comes into her own as the wife of a ruler.
Though the romance between Roxana and Alexander is at the forefront, this novel doesn’t just call into question what we do for love, but rather what happens when duty must trump love; when responsibility, obligation and the promises we make dictate our fate.
Realm is available for purchase.
ABOUT ALEXANDREA WEIS:
Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight.
Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.
A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes mysteries, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, action, historical, and romance.
Alexandrea Weis is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Association.