330BC: it is the year that Alexander the Great sacked Persepolis and won the greatest fortune the world had ever known. The night of the Silent Dinner when Athens placates the spirits of the dead passes with a creeping mist accompanied by eerie portents and a strange disappearance, Stephanos, son of Nikiarkhos and his teacher, the philosopher Aristotle, are drawn into solving the perplexing abduction case of Anthia, the heiress of a prominent silver merchant. Someone has snatched her from her home, but what is the motive: rape, a forced marriage or murder? All that is known is that the abductor and the heiress are on the road to Delphi and its ancient oracle. Stephanos and Aristotle pursue them but along the way there are plenty of distractions: it's spring time and the country is full of reborn life, the thought of romance and marriage is never far from young Stephanos' mind, and rumours of mysterious strangers passing in the night abound, of disguises and swapping of identity. Then the actuality of murder shatters the idyll. It seems that there is a psychopath on the road pursuing abductor and heiress.
But who the abductor is and who the murderer is are mysteries that only Aristotle with the aid of the Delphian oracle will be able to solve.
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(178mm x 111mm x 24mm)
Arrow Books Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
This is the second in a series of historical crime novels which will inevitably be compared with Lindsey Davis's popular Falco opus. They're set in Greece in the fourth century BC, against the backdrop of Alexander the Great's relentless empire-building, and feature two amateur sleuths using active research, deduction and philosophical discussion to solve some extremely intricate - and deadly - enigmas. The inspired choice of philosopher Aristotle and his pupil and friend Stephanos as the detectives adds an extra piquancy to the tale. Following one of the great spring festivals, 15-year-old Anthia, daughter and heiress of a rich, but now defunct, owner of silver mines, has been abducted, together with her well-born and beautiful slave-girl Kallirrhoe. They're rumoured to have last been seen on the road to Delphi, and Aristotle and Stephanos are despatched to rescue them. The journey is not without incident. On the way to pilgrim-packed Delphi they join a wedding, 'acquire' a precocious runaway slave (who, it transpires, is in love with Killirrhoe) and find the litter in which the two girls were presumed to be travelling - empty, with a dead body beside it. They find a second corpse and later discover, alive, someone long presumed to be dead. The problem they've been sent to solve grows ever more complex - but everywhere they go they make new friends, and an audience with the Delphic Oracle eventually and cryptically points them in the right direction. Doody weaves into this action-packed tale much about life in Athens and Delphi - the elaborate rituals, religious beliefs, songs, poetry and painting. It's an erudite as well as a highly diverting novel by an author who carries her scholarship lightly. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Margaret Doody
Margaret Doody is a professor of literature at the University of Notre Dame. She is also the author of The True Story of the Novel.