Sword of Apollo

Written by Noble Smith
Review by James Hawking

Nikias of Plataea appears in the third and final installment of The Warrior Trilogy, the story of his small city allied with Athens during the long struggle with Sparta and her even more vicious allies, which included Persians and Thebans. Another Spartan ally, the Dog Raiders, amused themselves with the four-chop, considering… “nothing funnier than watching an armless and legless man wriggling in the dirt…”

Battles and skirmishes on land feature the courage of the hero and his Scythian associate, Kolax. Well-realized sea battles are led by Chusor, a mechanical genius.  The air war includes flaming arrows launched from above by Plataean women, who practice their skills at the feast of Artemis. The soldiers swear frequently with oaths like “by Zeus’s balls.”  Everybody calls everybody else “sheep stuffer.”

An escape to Athens under cover of smoke and fire occurs just as Perikles’ death changes the situation. Nikias rescues his beloved wife and, to add an extra dimension, his attractive hetaira mistress.  The story moves from one battle to the next with occasional glimpses of the political and social background.