Book Review: The Pericles Commission – Gary Corby

Title: The Pericles Commission
Author: Gary Corby
ISBN: 9780312599027
Pages: 352
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

In ancient Greece, Nicolaos is the son of a sculptor, but he doesn’t know how to tell his father he doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps. He finds an opportunity in a tragedy that literally falls at his feet:  the body of Ephialtes, the man who wants to bring democracy to Athens.  Pericles, friend to Ephialtes, hires Nicolaos to find out who killed the statesman, but Nico finds the job more difficult than he initially thought when he discovers that almost everyone – including Pericles – had a motive to kill Ephialtes.

Review:

I love history and I love mysteries, so historical mysteries really intrigue me.  When well done, they give the reader an opportunity to really learn something while also being entertained by the mystery portion of the book.  When I first heard about The Pericles Commission, I knew I wanted to read it immediately.  I find ancient Greece fascinating, so the idea of a mystery set during that time period is very alluring.

The Pericles Commission was really an incredible read.  Corby clearly studied ancient Athens very closely before writing this book.  In fact, the mystery he writes about actually happened!  That gives this book extra appeal; the reader knows that the historical setting is accurate.  Corby treats the reader to an in-depth author’s note at the end of the book in order to discuss the historical accuracy of the book, always a welcome addition.

Nico is a wonderful character and carries this book very well.  He isn’t a natural detective; many of the deductions that lead him to the next step in the case aren’t actually his own.  But he knows how to use information and follow leads, and he is incredibly determined to find Ephialtes’ killer.  I appreciated his resourcefulness and his moral fiber.

The mystery in The Pericles Commission is an intriguing one.  Corby did a wonderful job ensuring it had multiple layers; as a result, it’s hard to deduce what actually happened.  As Nico follows the case and it becomes more and more complicated, the books becomes difficult to put down.  It was very well done.

I feel like this review doesn’t adequately express how much I really enjoyed this novel, so I will just say this:  I really loved this book.  It was fun, exciting, mysterious, and I actually learned something from reading it.  You really can’t beat that combination, and I really hope that this book is the first in a series, as I would love to visit Nico and ancient Athens again soon.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the terrific review, Swapna!

    Best,

    Paul Hochman
    St. Martin’s Press

  2. Thanks for the terrific review, Swapna!

    Best,

    Paul Hochman
    St. Martin’s Press

  3. It sounds like a lot of research went into this book. I’m interested in it since the mystery is true.

  4. It sounds like a lot of research went into this book. I’m interested in it since the mystery is true.

  5. Very cool that the premise of the mystery is based on actual events! I love historical mysteries, and haven’t been able to find a good one in awhile, so I will be looking for this one. It also helps that it’s so well researched!!

  6. Very cool that the premise of the mystery is based on actual events! I love historical mysteries, and haven’t been able to find a good one in awhile, so I will be looking for this one. It also helps that it’s so well researched!!

  7. This sounds like it was made for my husband — he studies ancient greek and latin…so this should be fun for him 🙂

  8. This sounds like it was made for my husband — he studies ancient greek and latin…so this should be fun for him 🙂

  9. I love the sound of this book! Thanks a lot for the review! The book sounds really intriguing.

  10. I love the sound of this book! Thanks a lot for the review! The book sounds really intriguing.

  11. This sounds great! I think my beloved Marcus Didius Falco series set in 1st Century Rome may be ending soon, so I am glad there is a mystery in Ancient Greece that I can get myself hooked on after 🙂

  12. This sounds great! I think my beloved Marcus Didius Falco series set in 1st Century Rome may be ending soon, so I am glad there is a mystery in Ancient Greece that I can get myself hooked on after 🙂

  13. Thank you Swapna for such a terrific review. I’m truly flattered!

    Yes, a lot of research does go into the books. They’re as accurate as I can get them.

    The murder in The Pericles Commission really did happen. The killing is described in a book by Aristotle(!), and the victim really was the guy who created the world’s first total democracy. But back in ancient times they never found out who was behind the killing, so I decided to solve it for them.

    The second book in the series will be called The Ionia Sanction, and is in production now. I’ve just finished first draft of the third in the series, which is set at the Olympic Games, and soon I begin research phase for the fourth.

  14. Thank you Swapna for such a terrific review. I’m truly flattered!

    Yes, a lot of research does go into the books. They’re as accurate as I can get them.

    The murder in The Pericles Commission really did happen. The killing is described in a book by Aristotle(!), and the victim really was the guy who created the world’s first total democracy. But back in ancient times they never found out who was behind the killing, so I decided to solve it for them.

    The second book in the series will be called The Ionia Sanction, and is in production now. I’ve just finished first draft of the third in the series, which is set at the Olympic Games, and soon I begin research phase for the fourth.

  15. Wow something I have never read anything about! Sounds great!

  16. Wow something I have never read anything about! Sounds great!

  17. Another discovery thanks to you! I also love mysteries and Ancient Greece. And it’s great to know there will be other books!

  18. Another discovery thanks to you! I also love mysteries and Ancient Greece. And it’s great to know there will be other books!

  19. This sounds like a fascinating read; I look forward to it. It reminds me of another mystery set in ancient Greece. I saw it in harbound maybe 5 or 6 years ago but I don’t remember the title. I think it had something to with vineyards or wine. Does it sound familiar to anyone?

  20. This sounds like a fascinating read; I look forward to it. It reminds me of another mystery set in ancient Greece. I saw it in harbound maybe 5 or 6 years ago but I don’t remember the title. I think it had something to with vineyards or wine. Does it sound familiar to anyone?

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