I was really impressed with the amount of Greek culture that was in this book. Mary Renault had a great understanding of their history and culture, and was really able to infuse it well. Nevertheless, that didn't change the fact that this was a pretty dull book. Yes, it was the tale of two friends over years of their lifetimes, but because of that, it lacked flow. When she wanted to move from one major event to another, there was a lot of dull exposition between the two.