Sons of Chaos a Lushly Illustrated Look at Ottoman War

by RJ Carter on Wed, 08/14/2019 - 19:15

The average  person today, when asked about Greek history, will probably recall the days of Plato and Socrates -- as though the country leapt straight from the days of philosophical and mathematical breakthroughs and went straight into the 21st century.

So when I read that SONS OF CHAOS was about the Greek war for independence, I was at a loss. When did Greece belong to someone else? When did this war occur?

Surprisingly, the war was relatively recent, as historical epochs go: the 1800s, in fact. When, you know, there actually was an America, so the fact that I did not know about this is a bit embarrassing. However, when it was explained that this was one of the wars of the Ottoman Empire, that, at least, was something I had heard of, so I felt a little better.

SONS OF CHAOS focuses on Greek hero Markos Botsaris (spelled in the book as "Marcos"). In history, Markos was a general who led his people fearlessly. In this book, Marcos is the victim of a lifelong catfishing scheme enacted by Ali Pasha of Ioannina, whose machinations result in separating Marcos from his father, to be raised by the Pasha as a slave, poisoned with suspicion and paranoia. Marcos' only respite is his attraction to the Pasha's daughter-in-law, Eleni, with whom he communicates by way of letters.

Marcos' eventually escape from the Pasha -- engineered by the Pasha himself -- angers Ali's son, Muhktar, to the point of betrayal; also part of the Pasha's plan, it would seem. In fact, Ali Pasha's game of chess is so complex and unfollowable that one wonders if he is trying to overthrow his own masters or the Greek Suliotes. It is not until the end, when Ali Pasha reveals all, that Marcos realizes how badly he's been played his whole life, runs off, and becomes the leader he has been reluctant to become--for one fight, in which he dies.

Chris Jaymes pens a compelling drama that gets more surprising as it unfolds. The coffee-table format provides an expansive canvas for illustrator Ale Aragon to paint the setting of Jaymes' tale. How true to history SONS OF CHAOS is is a question better left to historians. But factual or apocryphal, the story will pull you in and have you questioning everything you read and see until the very end.

Grade:

4.5 / 5.0