My Books

The Last King of Lydia

A defeated king stands on top of a pyre. His conqueror, the Persian ruler Cyrus, signals to his guards; they step forward and touch flaming torches to the dry wood. Croesus, once the wealthiest man of the ancient world, is to be burned alive. As he watches the flames catch, Croesus thinks back over his life. He remembers the time he asked the old Athenian philosopher, Solon, who was the happiest man in the world. Croesus used to think it was him. But then all his riches could not remove the spear from his dying elder son’s chest; could not bring his mute younger son to speak; could not make him as wise as his own chief slave; could not bring his wife’s love back; could not prevent his army from being torn apart and his kingdom lost. As the old philosopher had replied, a man’s happiness can only be measured when he is dead. The first coils of smoke wrap around Croesus’ neck like a noose…

Shortlisted for the 2013 Dylan Thomas Prize.

Available now from Amazon and Waterstones (ISBN 9780857899170).

Blog Reviews can be seen here

“Hugely poignant and at times shocking but always beautifully, lyrically written…I cannot praise The Last King of Lydia enough, nor urge you enough to read it…Without doubt, this is a contender for my novel of the year.”

“This is a beautiful retelling of Herodotus’s famous tale and I don’t think I can recommend it highly enough. It may only be April but this astonishing debut book from Tim Leach is without doubt my book of 2013.”

“This is Tim Leach’s first book, which is a shame, because The Last King of Lydia is so good you will want to read more of his work…since Mary Renault there have been few voices that have brought the Hellenic tales to life so well, and last year The Song of Achilles swept in as a welcome return to that voice. This year, The Last King of Lydia will continue the song.”

“On the surface, the book is an enjoyable adventure set in an ancient world, but the message of the book goes much deeper. Reading the story encourages a great deal of self-reflection and analysis…this is an absorbing, refreshing novel which offers something a little different to the norm.”

“A novel that is thought provoking, gives the reader a story of epic proportions and wraps it up with neat prose, solid dialogue and wonderfully imagined storytelling.”

“A fascinating and rip roaring read…well written with characters that spring to life.”

Amazon Reviews can be read here

” I don’t think I have read a better historical novel than this – it ranks right up there for me with the very best of literature whether historical or not”

“I read it until my eyes were too heavy to keep open.”

” Mixed with a great deal of speculation and sneaking in a dollop of philosophising this is a thought provoking and rewarding read.”

“A cracking story.”

The King and the Slave

King and Slave











Ten years after the fall of Babylon, Cyrus’s army is on the march again. His slave Croesus, no longer a young man, accompanies him as always, as does the king’s son and heir Cambyses, who has inherited none of his father’s diplomacy or charisma and all of his vanity and violence. When the warriors of Persia are unexpectedly crushed in battle Cyrus is put to death, and Cambyses assumes the throne. Croesus, once a king himself, is called upon to guide the young man; but the young man cannot be guided, and after taking offence at an insult by an Egyptian ruler, Cambyses takes the full force of his father’s empire to Africa for bloody and brutal vengeance…

“A sophisticated and moving study of corrupted power” Sunday Times

Available now from Amazon and Waterstones

Amazon Reviews can be read here

” This book, and the previous one read like a blend of historical fact and mythical tale; you can imagine having someone tell you the tales around a fire of an evening, as you travel through the Persian desert. Absolutely wonderful.”

“I am so delighted, but not surprised, that The King and the Slave is every bit as wonderful as The Last King of Lydia. Hugely moving, the events take place on a mix of grand and small stages but, above all, it is always believable and makes us at home in this ancient distant setting. Fabulous.”

“It is a beautifully written book and, at the end, deeply affecting. Unmissable.”


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