Marathon Conspiracy, The

Written by Gary Corby

The skeleton of the pre-Marathon tyrant Hippias mysteriously turns up 30 years after the 490 BC Battle of Marathon. When people realize Hippias was murdered on Greek soil, instead of fleeing to Persia as originally thought, every politician running for office claims he was the one who murdered the hated tyrant. Then one girl is mutilated and murdered, and her best friend goes missing. Another man is murdered in the middle of the book for getting too close to the truth. The protagonist, Nicolaos, investigative agent under the employ of Pericles, has to connect all the dots, determine the real assassin of Hippias and the murderer of the first girl, locate the missing girl, and determine the murderer of the other man – while avoiding the attempts of various hired thugs to deter and then eliminate him.

The author’s knowledge of ancient Greece is superb, and the sets and details are done just right to make you feel like you are in ancient Greece – if only it wasn’t for the language, which at times is a bit too modern for my taste, “valley girl,” even. A number of “blue-eyed/brown eyed” contradictions also served to throw me out of the fictional dream at times. However, the plot and the pacing really pick up during the last half, or last third, of the book.

Overall, this is a really well-told story. The recounting of the Battle of Marathon through the eyes of the playwright Aeschylus was the best I’ve ever read and puts you right there in the action. For those who enjoy whodunits set in ancient Greece, this is highly recommended.