Awards and Reviews, Volume 2

A Pyrrhic Victory II: Destiny Unfolds has won the following awards:
  • Finalist in the 2016/4th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards in two categories, Faction
  • (Fiction based on fact) and Military Fiction.
  • Winner, NABE Pinnacle Awards, Spring 2015.
    Category, Historical Fiction.
  • Finalist in the Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year 2015 (War & Military: Adult Fiction).
  • Destiny Unfolds was a Finalist in the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards in 2017 (Historical Fiction).
  • Eric Hoffer Awards; Category Finalist, 2021

The flawless second chapter in a masterful epic… Destiny Unfolds, the second volume of Dr. Ian Crouch’s three-part epic, A Pyrrhic Victory, takes the brilliance and scope of its predecessor and amplifies it tenfold— expanding the ancient world into a global battlefield where men are made or broken… and history is born.

Following Pyrrhus on his life’s violent journey, we find the Epirote king once more in bloody conflict with Macedonia, pitted against his old ally Demetrius as great reckonings unfold and the world itself begins to shift into a new epoch. For, at the invitation of Greece, Pyrrhus is called to fight against the rising power of Rome— and save the city of Tarentum from total destruction. With this campaign, Pyrrhus attains his greatest fame, crushing the Romans at Asculum while nearly obliterating his own army in the fearless and dogged operation— a costly style of conquest that’s come to be known as a ‘Pyrrhic Victory.’

Destiny Unfolds captures the same inventive spark as The Shaping of Destiny, but manages to simultaneously explore the broader factors of history while as well delving even deeper into the inner workings of Pyrrhus himself. The blend of the intimate and the majestic crafts a breathtaking tapestry of history, humans, and the age-old question— does the time make a man, or does a man make the time? Dr. Crouch explores this dialectic with electric prose and a steadfast honesty to fact.

Destiny Unfolds is truly a tour de force, and I can’t wait for Fate, the concluding volume of A Pyrrhic Victory. But for now, I’m just so thrilled to have the first two-thirds of this masterpiece.

—Charles Asher

A Pyrrhic Victory: Volume II, Destiny Unfolds
by Ian Crouch
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
reviewed by John E. Roper
Recommended by the US Review of Books
“Pantauchus was shocked with pain and fear. Seeing the man almost immobilized, Pyrrhus attacked again, transfixing Pantauchus’s left leg.”

For many people history is a boring subject, especially ancient history. Yet the problem usually lies not in the content but in the method of delivering it. History is rich with excitement, brimming over with tales of adventure, romance, tragedy, and triumph. But usually the best way to get this across to someone is not through a collection of facts and dates but by presenting it in a way that brings it back to life. Good historical fiction is frequently the best way to accomplish this, and the author proves in his latest volume on the life of Pyrrhus that he is more than up for the task.

This second book in Crouch’s trilogy finds Pyrrhus back in Epirus but still grieving over the loss of his wife Antigone. Although his kingdom is at peace, he still has a warrior’s heart and jumps at the chance for some diversion from his sorrow by responding to a request for aid from one of Macedonia’s rulers. After helping to restore peace to the region through wise diplomacy and truce brokering rather than force, he leaves Macedonia a hero to its people and returns to Epirus. The time away has served to still much of his brooding, causing him to seek out another wife. The one he gets, though, is more harpy than companion, blessing him with another son but soon taking up with Demetrius, a former friend turned enemy. However, he does manage to find true love again with Bircenna, the young daughter of the Illyrian King Bardyllis.

Sadly, the life of a king in ancient times was rarely marked by long stretches of peace, and Pyrrhus soon finds himself embroiled once again in Macedonia’s problems now that the ambitious Demetrius has taken over the country. Pyrrhus manages to successfully defend his kingdom from Demetrius’ first foray but later is pulled into an alliance to quell his former companion’s desire for an empire. He is briefly awarded for his efforts by being given the kingship of Macedonia, but then later makes the prudent move to withdraw when an ambitious ally stirs up trouble. Again Pyrrhus enjoys a time of peace at home before being offered the greatest adventure of his life: the task of coming to the aid of a helpless people on the Italian peninsula and leading an army against the incursions of Rome.

The author writes with an engaging style that pulls the reader into the time period. Although much of the biographical information available on Pyrrhus is limited to his campaigns and alliances, Crouch has still managed to craft a very believable picture of his subject’s personal life. While there are some admitted liberties with the various characters in the book, including adding a few key supporting roles, these do not detract from the overall historical truth of the narrative.

Was Pyrrhus truly as likable and honorable as Crouch portrays him? It is difficult to know, especially since ancient writers often tended to glorify heroes and gloss over their personal failings. However, one learns to read Livy, Herodotus, Plutarch, and the like not with the expectation that they will get every jot and tittle right in their depictions, but simply for the pleasure of learning the truth of the tales as the people of the time period saw it with the typical bias and filters that all cultures have when recounting their history. Crouch succeeds by staying true to the known facts that modern historians have managed to glean, while giving his story the narrative sensibilities of the ancients. The result is a highly enjoyable and informative book that brings the man Hannibal viewed as the second greatest commander after Alexander the Great to life.