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Scipio Novel

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  • IrenesBooks@aol.com
    (Note: This is mainly for eclectic and Jim Bloom, to whom I promised a summary of the Scipio novel by Ross Leckie. If anyone has to add something to this,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2000
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      (Note: This is mainly for eclectic and Jim Bloom, to whom I promised a
      summary of the Scipio novel by Ross Leckie. If anyone has to add something to
      this, please do it here.)

      I had promised you a summary of the Scipio novel. Please excuse the delay.

      N.S. Gill found a bunch of reviews of the book on Fred Mench's Website, which
      give you a good overview.

      To the errors mentioned in the last review I have to add these:

      The book has Scipio's mother die during Lucius' childbirth. On the contrary,
      she was very much alive and lobbied for her sons whenever they were in
      trouble with the Senate. Lucius is actually the *older* brother, and I don't
      think he was the adversary as Bostar (Leckie) makes him out. This is all
      supposed to show Scipio's lonely upbringing, with his father mostly absent,
      but ameliorated by the companionship of the socially inferior Laelius.
      Laelius then is depicted of always being jealous of Scipio and trying to do
      him harm during the trial -- same as Lucius. This does not tally with the
      fact that much of Polybius' information about Scipio came from Laelius.
      Scipio is also depicted as a very young know-it-all, critical of his father's
      military decisions.

      Nowhere is a marriage mentioned and thus no children, and the inference is
      that Scipio was homosexual and Bostar in the end revealed as his lover. In
      fact, Scipio had several children.

      The book alternates between Scipio's memoirs, which he dictates to Bostar
      (while he is waiting for the verdict in his trial and he is dying), and
      Bostar's comments/reminiscences on the margins.

      As to Bostar: Carol, you may remember, in the Hannibal novel, that Bostar
      decided to stay behind in Italy. He undergoes an number of tribulations
      until he ends up in Capua in the house of one Labienus. There he finds out
      that there lives in Capua a child who is a natural son of Hannibal. (Hannibal
      the heterosexual, Scipio the homosexual?) At Labienus' house he eventually
      meets Scipio and becomes his secretary. Bostar inherits riches from Scipio
      and moves to Macedonia, taking Hannibal's son with him.

      The book's epilogue is written by Hanno, son of Hannibal. The last paragraph
      reads "I am young. The events that Scipio has described formed the world and
      begat me. Bostar will find my father, and bring him here. Then we three will
      learn the ways of love and life, not death and war. The sky is bright and
      blue. The light is clear and pure."

      Presumably, novel #3 will start from there, and heaven knows what alternative
      history we'll get from there…

      Like the Hannibal novel, the narrative dwells much longer on the
      protagonist's youth than on the rest of his life, which makes both novels

      Co-host, Ancient/Classical History Forum
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