A dead man fell from the sky, landing at my feet with a thud. I stopped and stood there like a fool, astonished to see him lying where I was about to step. He lay facedown in the dirt, arms spread wide, with an arrow protruding out his back. He'd been shot through the heart.
Thus begins this entertaining mystery novel. Barely has Nicolaos recovered from this shock, down walks Pericles, identifying the body as his friend Ephialtes, who brought real democracy to Athens. One word leads to another, and Pericles commissions Nicolaos to investigate the murder. Nicolaos, recently returned from military service, is unwilling to follow in his father's footsteps as a sculptor and rather dreams of a career in politics, so he jumps at the offer. Little does he know what he is getting himself into.
The year is 461 BCE, and Ephialtes, the leader of the Democrats, has been at loggerheads with the Areopagus, the ruling council of oligarchs, whose function he has largely emasculated. One of these is Xanthippus, Pericles' father. Except for our protagonist, almost all major characters in the novel are historical figures, from his parents Sophroniscus and Phaenarete and his pesky and irritating little brother Socrates (yes, the Socrates) to the various political movers and shakers, and Diotima, a priestess of Artemis. Mr. Corby paints a large canvass of Ancient Athens, the city, its markets, its mob, its laws and mores.
The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby hits the stores on October 12.
A dead man fell from the sky, Gary Corby's blog.
Spoiler alert! Do not, repeat not, read the Author's Note before finishing the book.
Update: The author advises that the final print run does include a spoiler alert of its own.