With his SPQR novels, John Maddox Roberts has written a satisfying and entertaining historical mystery series. The stakes just keep getting higher in this latest atmospheric puzzle.
The case takes Nico, in the company of a beautiful slave girl, to the land of Ionia within the Persian Empire. The Persians will execute him on the spot if they think he's a spy. Beyond that, there are only a few minor problems:
He's being chased by brigands who are only waiting for the right price before they kill him.
Somehow he has to placate his girlfriend, who is very angry about that slave girl.
He must meet Themistocles, the military genius who saved Greece during the Persian Wars, and then defected to the hated enemy.
And to solve the crime, Nico must uncover a secret that could not only destroy Athens, but will force him to choose between love, and ambition, and his own life.
But murder and mayhem don't bother Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating twelve year-old brother Socrates.
The Pericles Commission is the first in an exciting new series by first-time novelist Gary Corby, who takes us to Ancient Greece at one of the most exciting times in history. In this wonderfully approachable, historically rich novel, Athens is brought vividly to life in a mystery engaging from the first page to last.