In The Shadow Of Two Gods

A historical novel about Marcus Aurelius and his time (SOLAR WIND Book 1)

Fiction - Historical - Personage
413 Pages
Reviewed on 02/17/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

In The Shadow of Two Gods is the first book in the Solar Wind series by Oleg Krasin. This is the story of the last good Emperor of Rome, where his story began and how he became a ruler. From the time Marcus was a young boy, everyone knew he would be different, but no one was surer of it than Emperor Hadrian. Since Hadrian had no children with his Empress, Marcus had a very special place in his heart and life. But how could a child like him, quiet and thoughtful, grow up to be one of the most revered and beloved rulers of a country? He liked to think a little too much and as he grew up, he developed ideas that he knew would be beneficial for all. The author gives an insight into how young Marcus became Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the philosopher that ruled Rome and the hearts of his people as well.

In The Shadow of Two Gods is an informative historical story that actually entertains the reader and did not read like a history lecture. I am amazed at the amount of research Oleg Krasin did and the way he made all the information into a cohesive story that had me hooked. The narrative flows effortlessly, the author wasn’t trying to use big words to impress the reader, and he simply shared a story. The little footnotes were extremely useful to clear up certain words and help me understand what they meant. I enjoyed how Oleg Krasin took me into the mind of young Marcus as he was growing up and understanding the world around him. I enjoyed his development, how he started thinking more maturely than anyone his age and how his experiences with his elders shaped him. He was an open book with blank pages and very exceptionally impressionable. He was lucky to have all the right people to guide him to become the ruler he would be remembered for. This is a fantastic story and would be a great fit for readers who enjoy historical fiction about influential people of the past.

K.C. Finn

In The Shadow Of Two Gods is a work of historical fiction set in the Roman period, penned by author Oleg Krasin. Written as the first novel in the Solar Wind series, the work focuses on the historical figure and father of stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius, and was written for adults due to its complex themes and some scenes of a sexual nature. Chronicling the life and influences of this powerful figure and key thinker of the Stoic movement, we follow Marcus through many important stages of his development in an effort to understand this incredible figure and his accomplishments to prevent the invasion of Rome. So begins an educationally stimulating journey into the past.

Writing in the style of a novel, author Oleg Krasin is able to bring both history and philosophical passion to life in this very insightful and entertaining read. The life of everyday Roman people and the socio-political way in which they were governed is often swept aside for big gladiator epic stories, so it was wonderful to see an intelligent work that is so well focused on philosophy and the nature of true power. The prose is smooth and well written, making us feel that the author has us in safe hands throughout the reading experience. I also particularly liked the inclusion of accurate letters and direct quotations from the figures who influenced Marcus Aurelius at the time, which adds another layer to the historical authenticity of the piece. Overall, In The Shadow Of Two Gods is an excellent work with much to offer history and philosophy fans alike.

Asher Syed

In the Shadow of Two Gods by Oleg Krasin is the first book in the historical fiction Solar Wind series, which follows the life and times of the last of the Five Good Rulers, emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. He is raised by his mother in the time of Emperor Hadrian, who is without an heir. The early life of Marcus Aurelius is explored, beginning under the strict, guiding hand of a mother who saw great things for him, into young adulthood at the side of the ailing Emperor Hadrian until Caesar's death. Antoninus Augustus becomes the next Caesar, to whom Marcus becomes an adopted son, marries, and begins to have the children that his predecessors could not. Throughout, and as devout a philosopher as he is to the Roman Empire, Marcus must learn to balance his private, public, and political life.

Oleg Krasin has written a novel rich with historical detail, sweeping through the seasons of Marcus Aurelius as he comes of age. I enjoyed the fictional dressing that allowed the moments history cannot bring to life as they weave seamlessly in and out of the facts we do know. In the Shadow of Two Gods is narrated by something of an omniscient point of view, giving readers multiple perspectives of three Caesars, as well as those who surround them—both good and bad. For me, the best parts are Krasin's descriptions of meals and the implementation of exhaustively researched minutia that were part of everyday living. I believe this book does Marcus Aurelius as much esteem as most believe he deserves without superfluous and excessive heroics, painting him as a living, breathing man, a feat that can only be achieved in the skilled hand of a talented writer.