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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

‘Wrath of the Furies’ by Steven Saylor

Published by Constable,
9 March 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-0199-0

It is 88B.C. And in a fragment from the secret diary of the poet Antipater of Sidon details are given of the intended extinction of all Romans living under the control of King Mithridates.

Antipater fears for the life of his pupil and friend the Roman, Gordianus who he hopes is living far away. We then meet Gordianus himself living near Alexandria with his slave Bethesda. He receives a scroll written by Antipater saying how he fears for his life in Ephesus.

Believing it has been sent by Antipater himself Gordianus devises a plan in which he intends going to Ephesus to rescue his friend. He will go as a mute to seek a cure from the goddess Artemis and Bethesda will go with him to act as his voice. Although he speaks Greek he has a strong Roman accent which would give him away. He buys a passage for them on a ship sailing for Ephesus via Rhodes. Gordianus has a friend Posidonus living on Rhodes and they stay the night with him. Whilst there he reluctantly agrees to act as a spy in the court of King Mithridates where he believes Antipater is living.

So begins a dangerous assignment in Ephesus and it becomes increasingly difficult for Gordianus to keep up his act of a mute. There are enemies at every turn, not least of which is the nasty vindictive little wife of Mithridates.

It is made clear that Gordianus is wanted to act as a mute witness to a ritual which involves a human sacrifice. It is worse still when it is revealed that the sacrifice is to be someone he knows. Can he save them? Who can he trust at the palace to help him and where is Antipater?

The ritual is to be followed by the massacre of the Romans as described in Antipater's scroll. Will Gordianus be able to prevent such a horror?

A really good tale which brings the ancient world to life.

On reading the Author's Notes I understand that many of the incidents described in the book actually took place making it even more interesting. Recommended for those who enjoy an exciting thriller set in ancient times.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Steven Saylor was born in Texas in 1956 and graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied history and Classics. He divides his time between homes in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas. "If I could have another home," he says, "it would definitely be in London, my favourite big city in the world." When not using his brain, he likes to keep in shape running, swimming, and lifting weights.
Steven's books have been published in 21 languages, and book tours have taken him across the United States, England, and Europe. He has appeared as an expert on Roman life on The History Channel, and has spoken at numerous college campuses, The Getty Villa, and the International Conference on the Ancient Novel.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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