The Last of the Wine

The Last of the Wine

by Mary Renault


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In The Last of the Wine, two young Athenians, Alexias and Lysis, compete in the palaestra, journey to the Olympic games, fight in the wars against Sparta, and study under Socrates. As their relationship develops, Renault expertly conveys Greek culture, showing the impact of this supreme philosopher whose influence spans epochs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375726811
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/10/2001
Edition description: 2ND
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 212,111
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.84(d)

About the Author

Mary Renault wrote more than a dozen novels; has had her work adapted for radio, stage, and screeen; and has been the subject of documentaries and biographies. She is as widely known for her forthright treatment of gay relationships as well as her historical restructions of ancient Greece. She was born in London and educated at Oxford. She then trained as a nurse, where she met her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard. After World War II, she and Mullard settled in South Africa and traveled considerably in Africa and Greece. It was at this time that she began writing her historical novels, including The King Must Die, The Last of the Wine, and The Persian Boy. The biography The Nature of Alexander is one of her only nonfiction books. She died in Cape Town in 1983.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Not since Robert Graves’ I, Claudius has there been such an exciting, living image of the ancient world on this grand a scale.”–The New York Times Book Review

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The Last of the Wine 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had originally picked up this book because I had seen it on a person's 'Recommended Books' list. I quickly got into it, and finished it within a week. I loved the characters - how connectable they were, how they all changed and evolved, and the trials and tribulations they all had gone through. The cast of characters is full of both factual and fictional people who are all undeniably 'human'. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes or is thinking about getting into Ancient Greece-set literature, philosophy or just love romance stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was forced to read this book my freshman year of college for integrated studies. To this day I'm still thanking my professor; for he introduced me to the wonderful author, Mary Renault, and did so in style. This is simply one of the greatest examples of historical based fiction I have ever encountered; and as an English minor in college I've encountered a great deal. In this book, set against the backdrop of war, Renault somehow transcends the bleakness of the time and in the process shares with us a remarkable and tragic love story. The reader is introduced to Alexias as a young boy, and invited to witness the journey that is his evolution into manhood. Struggling with his place in his family, not to mention his growing attraction and fondness for Lysis, we are exposed to the human vulnerability that exists within Alexias. The reader embraces him as our own and watches his growth with interest. Those of us who still believe in the concept of the soulmate will find great appreciation in the relationship between Alexias and Lysis. The same readers will feel the pain Alexias feels as the relationship develops. Laced with political commentary, Renault's is a poignant look at a culture long since past but never forgotten. It is her character development however, which makes this book irristable. I have read, and re-read the book countless times, never failing to be moved, to laugh, and to cry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 13, and had to choose a book by Mary Renault to read over the summer for my freshman honors English class in the fall. I chose The Last of the Wine because of the great reviews I read on this site. They were absolutely true! The story was awesome, and I was literally sobbing at the end. (I won't say what happens, though, you have to read it!) The only thing I didn't really like was some parts were kind of boring/confusing when they did historical flashbacks with a lot of names that didn't have much relevance to the core story. But all in all, it was a GREAT book.
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Sassafras0 More than 1 year ago
This is a love story clear and simple - set in ancient Greece. As a historical novel it is excellent - but it is as a love story that it stands out. The subject matter was quite ground breaking when published in 1956.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Two very young readers starting out right, in my opinion. I do find it interesting that neither of these youngsters pointed out the humane act of Alexias toward his baby sister, who was to've been left to the elements. (This did not happen to boy children.) Alexias was expected to follow through with his father's wish to expose the baby if it was a girl while he was away at war somewhere in Italy. Renault paints real human figures from diverse cultural settings & shows that the nature of humanity does not vary a lot no matter the cultural mores. She's well worth the read, & bless the youngsters who are reading her, even if it's the forced job of school.