Saturday, October 12, 2013

106:120 The Sand-Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw

Historical fiction for kid's bookclub.  A snapshot of the life of Archimedes from the time he leaves Alexandria to come home because of his father's failing health and the threat of war between his home, Syracuse, and Rome.  It breaks his heart to leave Alexandria and his pursuit of pure mathematics but he does his duty.  When he returns home, it is to find that his father is dying and he will soon be head of the house and must find a way of supporting himself, his mother, and his sister.  He knows that he can be an engineer and build bigger catapults than Syracuse has ever had if given the opportunity so he wrangles himself an interview with the king's advisor and presents the deal that he will build a one-talenter catapult and only be paid when he delivers a working machine and should the machine not work, he will pay for the supplies to have built it.  The Advisor takes the deal but while Archimedes is there, he ends up meeting the King's sister, Delia.  When the King returns from the war and sees what Archimedes has done, he knows that he must find a way to keep him in Syracuse.  

This story goes into the hows and whys of their relationship and Archimedes relationship with Marcus (his slave), Delia, and his homeland.  I found it an engaging tale, well told, and a more fun way of learning some history.

Page count: 584p/28,796p ytd/173,196p lifetime

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