Title: The Pericles Commission
Author: Gary Corby
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In ancient Greece, Nicolaos is the son of a sculptor, but he doesn’t know how to tell his father he doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps. He finds an opportunity in a tragedy that literally falls at his feet: the body of Ephialtes, the man who wants to bring democracy to Athens. Pericles, friend to Ephialtes, hires Nicolaos to find out who killed the statesman, but Nico finds the job more difficult than he initially thought when he discovers that almost everyone - including Pericles - had a motive to kill Ephialtes.
I love history and I love mysteries, so historical mysteries really intrigue me. When well done, they give the reader an opportunity to really learn something while also being entertained by the mystery portion of the book. When I first heard about The Pericles Commission, I knew I wanted to read it immediately. I find ancient Greece fascinating, so the idea of a mystery set during that time period is very alluring.
The Pericles Commission was really an incredible read. Corby clearly studied ancient Athens very closely before writing this book. In fact, the mystery he writes about actually happened! That gives this book extra appeal; the reader knows that the historical setting is accurate. Corby treats the reader to an in-depth author’s note at the end of the book in order to discuss the historical accuracy of the book, always a welcome addition.
Nico is a wonderful character and carries this book very well. He isn’t a natural detective; many of the deductions that lead him to the next step in the case aren’t actually his own. But he knows how to use information and follow leads, and he is incredibly determined to find Ephialtes’ killer. I appreciated his resourcefulness and his moral fiber.
The mystery in The Pericles Commission is an intriguing one. Corby did a wonderful job ensuring it had multiple layers; as a result, it’s hard to deduce what actually happened. As Nico follows the case and it becomes more and more complicated, the books becomes difficult to put down. It was very well done.
I feel like this review doesn’t adequately express how much I really enjoyed this novel, so I will just say this: I really loved this book. It was fun, exciting, mysterious, and I actually learned something from reading it. You really can’t beat that combination, and I really hope that this book is the first in a series, as I would love to visit Nico and ancient Athens again soon.