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Daughters of Nyx
428 b.c.e. Athens is roiling with intrigue about Pericles’ successor. Were it days ago, Timarcus would be at its center. But Kore has unexpectedly returned to him after seven years of separation and he is once again besotted. But as quickly as she has returned, she is gone, struck down by Apollo’s gentle arrow. Yet if it was a natural death, why can he not feel her presence as his beliefs promise? Instead he is haunted by images of Kore’s shade weeping, unable to pass to Elysium’s bright fields. As Timarcus hunts for the truth, suspicion soon points to General Cleon, Athens' ruthless new ruler. Should Timarcus denounce the most powerful man in Athens, bringing exile or worse upon himself to avenge Kore? As he unravels the astounding secret about her death, the humbling gods make him understand that the two of them never had a say in what befell them. They had always been at the mercy of the Daughters of Nyx, who spin and weave the fate of men.
Bonavist (Purged by Fire) sets her brisk historical murder mystery at a tense moment in the Peloponnesian Wars. When Athenian citizen Timarcus learns that his father has died, he asks his childhood sweetheart, Kore—a priestess of Artemis and “a fawn, yet a warrior”—to marry him now that his father can’t stop them. She refuses, citing her obligation to the goddess. Timarcus is devastated to learn, days later, of her death. When he journeys to her temple in Brauron to recover a trinket he gave her, he learns there are suspicions she was poisoned. His lonely, secretive quest to discover the motive and culprit brings him into fierce conflict with his loyal slave, Zeno, who is about to earn freedom; his uptight sister, Lachesis; and the powerful general Cleon, whom Lachesis once loved.

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.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: -
Editing: 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.