Poseidon’s Spear

Written by Christian Cameron
Review by Alan Fisk

Distraught over the death of his wife, Aristemnos — bronzesmith, warrior, and survivor of the battle of Marathon — flings himself off a cliff to drown. Instead, he finds that he has leapt from the frying pan of grief into the fire of being a galley slave of the Phoenicians.

Before long he is free again, and a member of a truly motley crew of adventurers who decide to make their fortune by sailing to the mysterious north and cutting into the Phoenician tin trade.

Travelogue, adventure story, and history lesson, Poseidon’s Spear follows on from Marathon (HNR, Nov ’11) and is in turn to be followed by a novel that will be centred upon the battle of Plataea — which happens to be Aristemnos’ home village.

This is a truly rousing yarn, which I thoroughly recommend as an exciting read. Let’s set aside any pettifogging quibbles over chained Phoenician galley slaves, over how well you could tack with only a Phoenician square sail, and over whether the Phoenicians ever actually came to Britain to trade for tin. Switch off your brain; this is a novel for the heart and guts.