Another gift from my dear friend from studies, last time she got me Szamałek’s second book Czytanie z Kości, which I devoured in a day. It was no different this time.
What I did differently this time was that I refrained from rereading the author’s biography, as last time I found the comparison with mine a tiny bit depressing (if you’re curious why, you can read here). It is the first book, so here we get to know Leochares, our main character who is deeply troubled in his personal life and generally prone to getting beaten. It is 430 BC and Spartan siege of Athens has just ceased the siege of Athens for the winter, but there is a spy in the city. Pericles tasks Leochares with finding the spy, which proves to be a very dangerous task.
Again what I liked about the book was a good mixture of well researched ancient setting with good pace of action and characters that behave like us. I like Szamałek’s stubbornness in proving to us that people in ancient Greece were driven by the same emotions as us today. It was interesting to think of Pericles for once not as a hero, but as a corrupted power greedy politician. The book is pure entertainment and it was fun to read. I admire Szamałek’s ability to swiftly bridge the gap between the world of academia and research and the world of popular entertainment, without losing on quality.