If one of the functions of book awards is to bring attention to books that may not have received it otherwise, then the National Book Awards achieved that goal with one of the nonfiction nominees, The Poison King. In the Washington Post, Carolyn See reviewed it, saying,

I read this biography as a layperson, not a scholar, but I can say without reservation that it’s a wonderful reading experience, as bracing as a tonic, the perfect holiday gift for adventure-loving men and women…it’s drenched in imaginative violence and disaster, but it also wears the blameless vestments of culture and antiquity.

Put that in your nonfiction readers advisory bag.

The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy
Adrienne Mayor
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 472 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press – (2009-10-18)
ISBN / EAN: 0691126836 / 9780691126838

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