May 28, 2014

The Marathon Conspiracy (Book Review and GIVEAWAY!)

I'd hoped to participate a little more in Armchair BEA this week, but it's been a busy few days! I have a few minutes now though (hooray for a napping baby!), so I'm going to jump ahead to tomorrow's topics: Giveaways and Beyond the Borders.

I just happen to have a super-fun book, which fits both criteria. The Marathon Conspiracy, book four in a series I really enjoy, is set in ancient Greece - far beyond the borders near me. And, it's book 1 in my Summer Reading Giveaway Series (stay tuned for giveaways on the next couple of Wednesdays as well!)

Gary Corby, the author of The Pericles Commission and The Ionia Sanction, has managed an unlikely feat with his series starring Nicolaos, a detective in classical Greece: he's written mysteries that combine funny characters and intriguing crimes with accurate history. 

Pericles, the biggest political player in Athens, has asked Nicolaos to investigate the suspicious death of one schoolgirl and the disappearance of another at the Sanctuary of Artemis. The two girls had found a cache of scrolls apparently written by Hippias, the last tyrant who controlled Athens before its democratic experiment began. There has always been controversy surrounding Hippias's defeat at Marathon, and Pericles fears that the recent crimes might have been engineered by a traitor to the Athenian cause.

Nicolaos, mere weeks from his wedding, is reluctant to involve his fiancée, Diotima, but since Diotima was formerly a student at the sanctuary, she insists on assisting him. They find a collection of odd characters at Diotima's old school, including a priestess who likes to run naked through the woods and a strangely taciturn handyman.

As in his earlier books, Corby manages to disseminate a wealth of information about real life in Athens and the cultural and legal rules governing its citizens. But The Marathon Conspiracy is never dull, thanks to the amusing bickering between Nicolaos and Diotima and the hilariously complicated situations Nicolaos keeps stumbling into. The escapades of the detective (and his pesky, intellectual little brother Socrates) will keep readers laughing, while the history lesson will leave them feeling a little bit smarter.

I liked The Marathon Conspiracy so much that I asked Soho Press if they could provide a copy of the book for one of you, and they said yes!

To enter to win a copy of The Marathon Conspiracy, leave a comment telling me what other time period you'd like to live in. Any takers on ancient Greece?

The giveaway will be open through 6/4. I'll randomly choose one commenter, and then contact the winner for their mailing details (US only please). If you subscribe via email, you'll have to click through to leave a comment.

I originally wrote most of this review for Shelf Awareness. Soho agreed to provide a book because they're nice, I wasn't paid or perked. But the post does contain a few of my affiliate links, thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm!

Pssst: next week's giveaway is by a Swedish author that I'm kind of obsessed with. Check back later for details!

UPDATE: The winner is commenter #6, April @ Steadfast Reader. Congrats April! And I hope you have fun in Feudal Japan...