I finally got around to getting The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby this week. is it any good? If the suspense is too much for you, Gary’s a nice bloke, so if it were rubbish I wouldn’t mention I’ve read it. The reason I left off buying it for so long was that I was waiting for the paperback. In the end the Kindle price dropped to the paperback, so I got that version. I’ll also be buying the sequel The Ionia Sanction, possibly not till the price drops with the paperback for that too, but then again it might be a Christmas treat instead.
The book is based on a real event. Ephialtes established the Athenian democracy (if you ignore Cleisthenes), and then was killed a few days after by
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (I just realised, this would be a big spoiler). This, as Gary Corby points out in his author’s note, is in a few lines of the Constitution of the Athenians — which we’ll say was written by Aristotle because a discussion of the authorship would be tedious, inconclusive and utterly irrelevant to the point.
The book opens quickly.
A dead man fell from the sky, landing at my feet with a thud. I stopped and stood there like a fool, astonished to see him lying where I was about to step. He lay facedown in the dirt, arms spread wide, with an arrow protruding out his back. He’d been shot through the heart.
It was obvious he was dead, but I knelt down and touched him anyway, perhaps because I needed to assure myself that he was real. The body was warm to my touch. The blood that stained my fingertips, from where I had touched his wound, was slippery and wet but already beginning to dry in the heat, and the small cloud of dust his fall had raised made my nose itch as it settled.
It doesn’t normally rain corpses, so where had this one come from? I looked up. There was a ledge above me, and another to the left. The one directly above was the Rock of the Areopagus, home to the council chambers of our elder statesmen. The other to the left, but much farther away, was the Acropolis. There was no doubt about it; this man had fallen from the political heights.