The Ionia Sanction (The Athenian Mysteries #2) by Gary Corby

Description: The case takes Nico, in the company of a beautiful slave girl, to the land of Ionia within the Persian Empire. The Persians will execute him on the spot if they think he’s a spy. Beyond that, there are only a few minor problems:

He’s being chased by brigands who are only waiting for the right price before they kill him.

Somehow he has to placate his girlfriend, who is very angry about that slave girl.

He must meet Themistocles, the military genius who saved Greece during the Persian Wars, and then defected to the hated enemy.

And to solve the crime, Nico must uncover a secret that could not only destroy Athens, but will force him to choose between love, and ambition, and his own life.

For Helen,
Catriona,
and Megan

Opening: I ran my finger along one foot of the corpse, then the other, making the body swing with a lazy, uncaring rhythm. I stared at his feet, my nose so close I went cross-eyed as the toes swung my way.

It is always mind-boggling to stand within the ruins of Ephesus knowing that once upon a time this was a city smack-bang on the coast. Now it is land-locked, the same as Portus in Italy.

Anyway, getting back on track, Nico travels to Ephesus which is mostly independent from the ubiquitous Persian overlords, to return a slave and ‘sort of’ look for Diotima who we met in the first book. I would have preferred not to have found the pole-dancing Brion, yet finding out why ceramics are being imported to Athens, where the modern equivalent is sending coals to Newcastle, was a fun ride.

LATER: after reading through the end notes I can tell you these events took place 460BC, my maths in the contrast section below were out by ten years because I based it on Socrates’ birth ~469BC and matched his actions in this book to teenager/young man behaviour.

Ephesus

Ruins of Magnesia

Socrates

Trivia from wiki: Socrates says that in his youth he was taught “the philosophy of love” by Diotima, who was a seer or priestess. Socrates also claims that Diotima successfully postponed the Plague of Athens.

Themistocles asks Artaxerxes for sanctuary.

Maeander river which gives rise to the word meander. As Benny Hill used to say: ‘learning all zee time’! heh

Juggling two hist-fics from ancient Hellene at the same time was rather fun and they yearn to be contrasted.

The King and the Slave: Croesus at the age of 70 and slave first to Cyrus and then to the son, Cambyses, so this must be ~525BC. The setting is Lydia, which is western modern day Turkey and the philosopher mentioned is Solon. Croesus is attributed with inventing the first coins.

Straight hist-fic based on Herodotus’ writings, engagingly conveyed and nicely narrated in the audio form. Recommended.

The Ionia Sanction: Socrates is a young man so this must be ~450BC. The other philosopher mentioned is Anaxagoras. The setting is Ephesus in Ionia and the Persian King is Artaxerxes.

An historical-fiction mystery, written in an amusing upbeat manner yet falls well short of slapstick, thank heavens. Recommended

4* The Pericles Commission (The Athenian Mysteries, #1)
4* The Ionia Sanction (The Athenian Mysteries, #2)

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