K – Amazon – November 2023 – 5.0 out of 5 stars
As a fan of historical fiction I very much enjoyed and highly recommend this book! I bought the hardback and glad I did as In The Company Of Friends will remain in my collection. Argent Wood’s unique narrative weaves a credible tale in the life of Alexander as he grows up surrounded by treacherous plots of deception, along with devotion, loyalty and friendship from his comrades and his true love Hephaistion.
Argent Wood has a knack for bringing characters to life in a very realistic and thoughtful way. They seem to jump right off the page with a very believable storyline, and gives one a feeling of history coming to life along with the culture, brutality and the nuances of how people and society were back in that time. Some of which, such as cruelty and abuse, we can identify with in our society today.
Argent Wood is adept showcasing the intricacies with the plot line development ripe for Alexander’s succession as royalty, and the constant scheming of Alexander’s parents during Phillip’s dominating rule with his duplicitous relations between countries, his abuse, as well as the personal guile, manipulation and plottings of Olympias.
The relationship between Alexander and Hephaistion is beautifully felt and very well written as they navigate through this mine field of subterfuge, both subtle and outright threats to life, from boys to manhood together and the deep, loving bond between each other.
I felt as if I had been transported to that time and culture and immersed within the story, gaining an intimate idea of who these two people were and to each other in their intertwined relationship, and the connected loyal fellowship within their inner circle. All of this molded both Alexander and Hephaistion as the intelligent, principled men of their word and Alexander as an honorable ruler, and set him and Hephaistion on their historical course.
Whether you enjoy history, historical fiction, a deeply close, entwined bond between two people who were fated to be together, or just a really well written story, this book is for you. I can’t wait for volumes 2 and 3! Argent Wood is now my most favorite of authors.
Amazon Customer – October 2023 – 5.0 out of 5 stars
A fitting successor to Mary Renault
An emotionally powerful vision of Alexander the Great from boyhood up to the beginning of his conquests. Not for the faint of heart, In the Company of Friends depicts the harsh realities of life in the kingdom of Makedon during the decay of the ancient Greek city-states: a time when slavery was an accepted norm, death a constant companion, and even small children lived at risk from poison, kidnapping, and assassination. Told mainly from the viewpoint of Hephaestion, Alexander’s lifelong love, this is the raw and brutal story of a warrior prince coming of age in an environment as dangerous as any Mafia family. Wood draws us into a world where sex, love, and friendship are the foundations of both power and deadly rivalry, where truth is rare and and personal relationships are essential not only to success, but survival. Well-written and perfect in period detail, this is storytelling and history rolled into one seamless and rivetting whole. Schedule a weekend to read it at one stretch; you won’t want to put it down.
Amazon Customer – June 2023 – 5.0 out of 5 stars
A Compelling Read – This is an extremely well-crafted novel, as the author takes us through the complex life of Alexander the Great. Dive into a world where friendship is sacred, power is seized by the ruthless, and the ancient Gods are real. Follow Alexander and Hephaestion on their journey to manhood, a journey filled with loyal friendships and devastating enemies. Highly recommended.
JF – Facebook – June 2023
As I love history, I was looking forward to reading a novel based on true historical events. ‘In the Company of Friends’ by Argent Wood did not disappoint me: the blending of fiction and real events is skillfully done. Alexander is both a great warrior and a human being starved for love, love which he did not receive from his mother, Olympias so hungry for power that she failed to see her only son’s yearning for her love. Nor did she in any way shower any affection on her husband. She was manipulative acting only in her interest. However, Alexander was fortunate enough to have a true friend in Hephaistion who stood by him through thick and thin, whose life was not and has not been a bed of roses. Or maybe yes, roses, petals and thorns.
To me ‘In company of friends’ is a book about love, friendship and loyalty.
I would like also to mention that I was most impressed by Argent’s incredible amount of research.
I am looking forward to read about Alexander’s path to glory and perhaps love.
PS – My favourite character was Hephaistion.
JK – Amazon – June 2023 – 5.0 out of 5 stars
I loved the portrayal of Hephaistion and his relationship with Alexander. Though hard-hitting in places, I couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait for Book 2!
RAR – March 2023 – Review first published on Amazon.US – 5.0 out of 5 stars
There have been many historical fictions written of Alexander. Some standing alone, one or two as sequels, and a few trilogies. Argent Wood’s is truly an Alexander ‘historical’ fiction. Not only among the best, but this first book of the trilogy is the best. It is clear the author is familiar with the histories, extant fragments and ancient texts that comprise the Alexander corpus.
In this first of the trilogy, the author takes us on the journey of Alexander and Hephaestion’s boyhood, teenage years and early adulthood, Alexander’s ascendancy to the throne of Macedon at age twenty to about twenty-two, just prior to crossing into Asia.
The overarching component to our journey is ‘Alexander and his Hephaestion.’ We are with them through and survival of the brutal world they and their Companions lived in. Alexander and Hephaestion’s relationship, their love, is deep, tangible-a lifelong all-encompassing love. Our author: “True love such as theirs is something that transcends analysis. Intimacy, passion and commitment equal true love, and is what Alexander believed in and felt for Hephaestion.”
And our author goes further. Argent brings to life all the Companions, the ‘Friends’ we know from the histories, and finally see realized as individuals-in the flesh-in this novel.
In beautifully descriptive detail, we are right with Alexander and Hephaestion and the Companions as they ride, march and sail the lands they fought in-and some died in-and Alexander conquered in his early campaigns in Greece. We never feel outside their world; we are among them. We watch them scrabble, learn, love and care about each other-forming what will be their lives together as men, soldiers and officers in Alexander’s army. This caring, although it extends to all, is especially evident and focused on Alexander’s beloved, Hephaestion. The great love, trust and protectiveness of Hephaestion from Alexander is born of that love, and not due to some need for securing an empire. It is personal, and private, and surrounds his mystique-this is evident in the Alexander histories, and glimpsed in the preserved fragments and texts, and our author saw them and presents them to us in a way we feel, but cannot easily define with words. Our author, in fact, presents him to us as the histories do: from Alexander’s perspective, through his words and actions. We do not, as Alexander does not, want him hurt. We hurt with Alexander and Hephaestion when one or the other suffers. We love with them as they love each other.
Our author has given Hephaestion, more than the others, a life and personality we truly love and admire. Argent Wood has made us-readers-appreciate his character: history’s Hephaestion. Our author: “There is a lot more than we will ever know (about the enigmatic and beautiful Hephaestion) or how could he ever have been Alexander’s partner.”
This is a wonderfully written novel. The author’s writing flows, it is smooth and beautiful. Keeping our interest and fascination with the world Argent is presenting to us. Our author is fearless, unapologetic, honest and tender, particularly regarding ‘Alexander and Hephaestion.’ There are moments where kind and tender interactions between them and between the ‘Friends’ is melting.
I highly recommend this book to all. To those who love Alexander and ‘Alexander and Hephaestion,’ their Companions, their world and their history, of course. To those unfamiliar with the Alexander the Great histories I do believe Argent Wood’s Book 1 of this trilogy will be an inspiration to read them. Finally this first wonderful book will keep ‘all of us’ wanting more.
Teresa – Reviewed first published on Amazon.US – March 2023
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel of Alexander the Great’s youth
In the palace of the King of Macedon, a child Prince tries to survive among warring factions of family and all of Greece. It is a dangerous life of no guarantees yet great possibilities. Surrounded by friends who would sacrifice their lives for one another, a perilous journey for Alexander to become King tests them all. This King proves exceptional and with the help of his companions he secures all of Greece as his subjects, but it comes at a blood-soaked high price. Follow Alexander and his friends as he lives the life of his ancestor Achillies, with a fame that transcends time itself. With great attention to detail this book is a worthy read that attempts to fill in the holes in the many Alexander histories. It also brings to life the friends of the King.
SMemory – Review written 24 February, 2023
I liked the book enough to buy the hard copy for my library after reading the Kindle version. The young Alexander and the people as well as events that shaped him are portrayed in an interesting way in the book. Loved the author’s Hephaestion. The author has remained true to what we know about Alexander from the historical sources until after the destruction of Thebes. The rest, including some minor characters, was made up. Beware of the unnecessarily harsh portrayals of Philip II and Olympias. Overall, it is a well-written book that is engaging and entertaining. (Fine print – I am not a historian or a writer, just a quant who reads history and historical fiction for fun.)
5.0 out of 5 stars – A cracking read! Amazon.uk – 18 March 2023
A brilliant read, whether you’re familiar with the life of Alexander or not. Albeit a dramatised version of the people and times, It brings a new understanding and enlightenment, as well as being a highly entertaining read. The author clearly has indepth knowledge of the history of Alexander and his contemporaries but you certainly don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy the novel – a cracking read which I highly recommend.
Facebook – May 2023
I finished reading your book “In The Company of Friends” and I’d like to know when your second book on Alexander will be available. I have read many books on this subject (fiction and non- fiction), but till now only your book made me fully understand how dangerous was Alexander’s life before his accession to kingship. Besides I appreciate the way you represent Hephaistion. I too think Alexander tried everything to keep his friend out of danger.