Brilliantly constructed and richly detailed… Stunning.
Fritsch returns with this deeply engrossing stand-alone sequel to Helen’s Orphans, taking readers on an exhilarating journey laced with sinister motives, manipulations, and intrigues. Timon, the last surviving member of the Trojan royal family, is content living with his Greek companion Lukas at the palace grounds. But when Marco, son of military hero Coriolanus, sails to the Greek land with an invitation to visit republican Rome, the city the Trojan survivors of the war have founded, Timon accepts the invitation despite his apprehensions, unaware of the dangers awaiting him ahead. Fritsch’s vivid rendering of the Roman era is noteworthy for his atmospheric use of historical facts, but the book’s emotional punch comes from its portrait of a young man growing into adulthood as he takes responsibility for his friends’ lives whom he has brought to his land. The narrative alternates between Timon and Marco’s first-person narrative voices, unraveling the hidden motives and conspiracies, the loves, passions, and hates as well as the intrigues and scandals of the republican Roman court. Fritsch’s language is simple yet lyrical and pacing swift. He describes emotionally charged, speedy actions excellently while making good use of history, myth, and legend. The story goes through the humanitarian grounds of the Greek palace to intimidating lands of Rome, with all of their varied ceremonies and spectacles. Fritsch’s straightforward prose, vivid imagery, and uncomplicated dialogue create a suitably ominous atmosphere, and the plot advances at a swift pace, keeping readers invested. Marco, humanly flawed and all the more likable for it, comes alive on the pages. His conflicted feelings about his father’s real intention forms one of the main conflicts in the story. Timon and Lucas’s genuine goodness, their endearing bond with each other, and their integrity make them a memorable pair of protagonists. Fritsch’s realistic portrait of Coriolanus includes enough cunning and malevolence to make the boys’ cautionary measures believable. Coriolanus’s motive turns out to be more sinister and devastating than Marco had feared, leading to a poignant meditation on how to prepare for the future, sometimes one has to bury the past. Like a satisfying fairy tale, the story ends with justice served: Fritsch deftly wraps up the final chapters, allowing Marco to emerge from his father’s shadow, putting his own self and his friends’ life first. Readable, well crafted, and thoroughly absorbing, the novel makes for a winner.
Who Killed Coriolanus?
By Ron Fritsch
Pub date October 28, 2021
Price $9.99 (USD) Paperback, $2.90 Kindle edition