(urth) The end of Soldier of Arete

Michael Straight mfstraight at gmail.com
Wed Nov 29 22:04:51 PST 2006

I just finished re-reading the first two Soldier books in preparation
for Soldier of Sidon.  I'm convinced that they are Wolfe's very best.

But, wow, to completely follow the plot you really must keep careful
track of every single character, which city they are from, which god
they serve, and all the alternate names for them, their regions, and
their gods.  (And also whether or not they are a werewolf, dryad,
centaur, ghost, or transgendered via possession by lamia.)

I think I mostly got it this time but I'm still unclear about the
penultimate paragraph.

Pindaros says that the ship Latro stole carried the cargo of the
Spartan regent (Pausanius).  But I thought the Crimson Men
(Phonecians) had been robbed of the cargo by the pirates from
Hundred-Eyed (Argos?).

I'd originally thought the pirates had taken the treasure and that the
Spartans were holding the Crimson Men and their empty ship.  But if
Hundred Eyed=Argos, and Pindaros says the Argives were asking for
Spartan help in chasing Latro, that means the Argives were holding the
Crimson Men captive and had the Phonecian ship with Pausanius's cargo
sitting right there in the port under Pausanius's nose!  Talk about
hutzpah and trust in the truce of the games!

So it makes sense that Pausanius would order the Spartans to "shun the
Phonecian steel" and prevent others from pursuing Latro--if he can't
have the cargo, neither can the Argives--but what does Pindaros mean
when he says "the shrewd prince gained ten times over what he lost"?
I don't see how he gains anything by Latro's escape except in the
sense of "my enemy's loss is my gain."

I'm also not clear about Hegesistratus's comment "He [Themistocles]
has become a friend of the Rope Makers...For the good of the world, he
must be discredited and they destroyed."   But he believes he has been
bribed by Artemis to make sure Latro wins.  I can see how losing the
race might be a blow to Themistocles, but I don't see how it would
lead to the Rope Makers being destroyed.

And does he think that's why Artemis wants Latro to win the race?
Because it would lead to the destruction of her people, the Rope
Makers?  Surely that's more like what Gaea wants.  (Is it possible
there is a typo and Hegestratus is saying Themistocles must be
discredited and *then* destroyed?)

It's funny how Pindaros writes of the sighting of Artemis on Latro's
ship as if it's a sign that her hand was in Latro's escape in the
victory of the silver chariot.  But that's the opposite of what
Artemis wanted and if that was her on Latro's ship, it must be because
he's in big trouble with her.


More information about the Urth mailing list