Bonavist immerses readers in ancient Greece with cultural and historical tidbits that are subtly woven in without feeling stilted. Her inclusion of genuine belief in Greek gods and Timarcus’s fear of a painful afterlife for Kore are especially welcome motivators of character action. She also captures Timarcus’s grief in delicate complexity as he veers from total dejection and disbelief to violent rage. Other emotions, including Zeno’s complex feelings for Timarcus, add more layers to the story.
The side plots, including worries over the safety of Timarcus’s nephew on the politically unstable isle of Lesbos, and minor characters, such as the grumpy cook and her jittery son, make for some confusing digressions, but most of these threads combine in the shocking conclusion. Even with these bumps, the propulsive story holds the reader’s interest all the way to the end. Readers will enjoy following Timarcus through the puzzles in this deeply researched historical.
Takeaway: Fans of classical settings and amateur investigators will savor this fully realized ancient Greek mystery and its resonant portrayal of grief.
Great for fans of Madeline Miller, Margaret Doody, Gary Corby.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A
WOW! Reading this book is like spending time in Ancient Greece! The author's ability to make the customs and culture, the system of government, and the class system of that time come alive is remarkable. As for the plot and the murder mystery, I have to admit I never saw the conclusion coming! A very good read.