Though I can be suspicious of historical fiction, I enjoyed the way that “The Golden Mean,” by Canadian author Annabel Lyon, captures the spirit of, and facts about the early lives of Aristotle and Alexander the Great. Lyons’ Aristotle is the logical and sympathetic, though somewhat manic tutor of a bright and impulsive teen-aged Alexander. The book makes a thoughtful guess about the sights, smells, and sensibilities of the society they lived in, as well as the roots of the ancient Greek culture that has spawned so many modern traditions and ideas. I like the way “The Golden Mean” ponders the day-to-day lives of two talented young men with strong personalities, and political connections, before they become the famous philosopher and military leader we know about today. As the main characters were driven by action and strategy, this novel is a fairly quick read written in a clear, direct, and almost cinematic style. (Editor’s Note: The Golden Mean is available in Canada but will not be released in the United States until September 2010.)
Kate Keating is a writer and researcher whose daily commute happens in cyberspace most days (mostly because, in real time and space, she lives and works across a province instead of in a city). Kate divides her work and life between Toronto, Ottawa, and London, Ontario, Canada.