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The Ionia Sanction

(The Athenian Mysteries #2)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  90 reviews
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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Minotaur Books
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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 Wa
I don't know if it was the audiobook narration or just the book itself, but I didn't think that this second book in the series was as good as the first one.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another cheerful entry in this mystery series. Nico and Diotima investigate the household of the Athenian hero/exiled traitor Themistocles in the city of Magnesia, where he rules as a satrap of the Persian Great King. Corby has a sharp eye for what made ancient Greek civilization great and peculiar, coupled with a witty style. This time out the mystery is actually puzzling as well, so The Ionia Sanction delivers the goods.
Randee Baty
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mystery
Trouble is afoot in Athens and Nico, the aspiring 21 year old investigator, is called upon to get to the bottom of it!

Our hero is Nico, who wants to be an investigator but is being pressured by his very traditional father to go into the family sculpting business. Socrates is his younger brother and, as may be imagined, is quite precocious.

Thorion is the proxenos of Ephesus in Athens and when it is discovered that he was murdered, Pericles, the leading political figure of Athens, puts Nico on the
B. Asma
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Having read #1 in the series "The Pericles Commission", #2 "The Ionia Sanction" peaked my interest in the continuing saga of the twenty-ish Nicolaos. His sculptor father Sophroniscus has granted him a two-year opportunity for establishing his investigator career. Nico realizes his overconfidence with regard to catching murderers and walks a thin line with Athens' head-of-government Pericles.

A kidnapped girl and a murdered consulate at first seem unrelated, but all roads lead across the Aegean S
Cyn Mcdonald
This one did not keep my interest as well as the first one did. Still, a good, well-researched historical fiction/mystery.

TW: Some pretty graphic torture/execution and SM sex, although both further the plot so not entirely gratuitous. Still, avoid it if this will give you nightmares.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Another fun historical mystery.

For a further review: .
Looking at the clash between democratic Athens and tyrannical Persia from way over here is really helping me think about the geopolitical situation of our time. I really enjoyed that, the novel gives interesting (and invented) character traits to a list of historical footnotes, which is motivating me to go back to tackle the more academic titles. This is my 3rd book in the series, but I'm already sorry that I'll run out soon.

I'm growing very fond of the educational aspects of the series, I've s
Israel Drazin
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I like this series a lot. I like the stories, the way the plots develop, the humor in them, the relationship between the male and female heroes, the rather awkward relationship between the hero Nicolaos and his boss Pericles, Nico’s mistakes and successes, and the huge amount of very interesting information that the author Gary Corby gives us about ancient Greece, around 140 before the common era. We read about historical figures such as the famed philosopher Socrates when he was a youngster; Ni ...more
David D.  Knapp, Ph.D.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
As part of keeping my spirits up during the COVID-19 pandemic, I've decided to reread two series of novels set in Greece. Why? Because my wife and I are holding out hope that our September/October trip to Greece still will happen...fingers crossed!

I finished all the books in "The Seven Deadly Sins" series featuring Hermes Diaktoros (Hermes Messenger) - which are set in modern Greece. So, it was time to begin "The Athenian Mysteries" series, featuring Nicholaos, son of Sophroniscus the sculptor a
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book in the series and I enjoyed it as much as the first. The writing style is very easy and for me falls within the so called cosy mystery genre, however what I love most about these books is how the author spins a good yarn that keeps you reading while at the same time packing the book with fascinating information on the histories and cultures of antiquity. I also love to read the author's note at the end when he explains even further the background behind the story and how ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
When Thorion, Proxenos for Ephesus, is found hanged, it is at first assumed he committed suicide, but then Pericles and Nico find evidence that points towards murder. Nico is assigned to find the murderer and also a missing message that could contain the motive. When his first attempt ends in disaster, Nico leaves on a fast ship for Ephesus, with little idea what he will find there. This is a fascinating glimpse into ancient history in a very easy-to-read and entertaining format. Interesting cha ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The young Ancient-Greek detective reminded me of Gordianus in a Steven Saylor novel of Ancient Rome. Except Corby is no Saylor. But his next book (#3 in the series) is better as Corby seems to pick up speed as an author.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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funny mysteries set in history are. my thing.

As always, Nico is believably flawed, a progressive for his time but definitely not in ours. I love how he has never seen glass before, nor had a sugar high before.

Lia Marcoux
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Again I get the sense that Corby has a lot of joy in writing and is excited to share his research (while somehow avoiding the educational trap!) but no no no sometimes history is too disgusting to read about in detail!
Mary K.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I am enjoying the Athenian ways but a bit violent.
I liked it but do not recommend it for squeamish readers.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading these in the wrong order, but they are fun reads
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The humor seemed to be out of a Hollywood movie's screenplay; regardless, it was a good read.
Venetia Green
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Impressive plotting and historical research, but the characters were rather unconvincing. The history lessons were a little obvious at times, and were generally prompted, plot-wise, by the hero's need for information. But surely this crafty investigator for enlightened Athens (the brother of Socrates, no less) should not be so horribly and frequently ignorant! Nevertheless, an entertaining read.
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of historical mysteries and writing about ancient Greece
Thorion, the proxenos (agent) for Ephesus (a Hellenic city in the Persian Empire) in fifth-century Athens, is dead. Very dead. His body is hanging from the ceiling of his office in his Athens home, where he is found by Pericles. Pericles had received a note from Thorion which seemed to say that he had committed treason against Athens. But it soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems at the death scene.

Pericles calls in the investigator Nicolaos, whom he had used once before, to look into
Angie Boyter
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful historical detective adventure
The publisher’s description of the story does a good job, so I won’t repeat it. If some of the names in that description sound familiar, though, like Pericles and Themistocles, you are right! Our hero Nico is the older brother of a young man named Socrates, and his boss Pericles was the Greek leader we read about in history. Nico is a fictional character, but he encounters many historical figures in the book.
This is a light, entertaining novel, but it is
"The Ionia Sanction" is the second book in Gary Corby's "Athenian Mysteries" series, featuring the intrepid young investigator, Nicolaos and his elusive love, Diotima, set in Athens in 460 BC. This book begins where the previous one, The Pericles Commission, left off, as Nicolaos is Pericles' hand picked investigator. And there's a death, traitorous acts, trips across the sea and, of course, murder and love all around. This was another fine effort by Corby.

Soon after a leading man in the city is
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nico, our politically naive would-be agent from The Pericles Commission is back in this second book in Gary Corby's Athenian Mysteries. This time, he's taking his first case as an agent of Pericles. And he finds himself travelling out of Athens, across the sea into Persian territory to investigate the murder, and possible treason, of an upstanding Greek citizen.

Much as with the earlier book, I threw myself into Nico's world with reckless abandon. I really enjoy the way Corby introduces common Gr
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Ionia Sanction (Minotaur 2011) finds Nicolaos, the only investigating agent in ancient Athens, examining the supposed suicide of Thorion, the proxenos (agent) for Ephesus, a Greek city within the Persian empire. Thorion sent a note to Pericles admitting to betraying Athens and promising news of a threat. But the scroll Thorion received before his death is missing, probably stolen by Araxes, his last visitor and probable murderer. Nicolaos comes up with a brilliant plan for capturing Araxes a ...more
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance uncorrected proof of The Ionia Sanction by Gary Corby through Goodreads. Picking up the book, I was a little hesitant and thought it may be a hit or miss. I didn't really care for the cover. But, OMG!!! I was hooked from the start, and keep in mind I VERY RARELY give a 5 stars as I did to this book. (FYI I have NOT read the first book....yet.)

The tone Corby uses for Nico, the main character and narrator, makes for a most enjoyable, fun read. I never laugh out loud, but foun
Don Maker
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fast, funny, sexy, and a little bit of history!

This is the second in a series set in Athens and Ionia (modern-day Turkey) circa 460 BC, starring Nicolaos, son of Sophroniscus. It's a mystery with a lot of murder and mayhem, sex and other sins, secrets and surprises, but all done in the spirit of good, clean fun. Corby takes much of the culture and history of the era, including some actual historical figures, and spins it into a surprisingly coherent tale, with more twists and turns than the Rive
Jessica Howard
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nicolaos, the only private investigator in ancient Athens, has a problem. The Ephesian ambassador is dead, and Nicolaos let the murderer get away.

Pericles, the ruler of Athens, sends the embarrassed Nicolaos to Ephesus, a Greek enclave in the Persian Empire, to hunt for the killer and do a little spying on Themistocles, a traitor to Athens. Nico is more than eager to go since the luscious Diotima, the woman he loves, is currently serving as priestess at the temple of Artemis there.

The character
Stephanie Thornton
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Gary Corby's done it again in this second installment of Nicolaus' career as an Ancient Greek private investigator. Pericles, ruler of Athens, charges Nico with finding the murderer of Thorion, the proxenos for Athens, only the first murder Nico will encounter this time around.

A wily ride ensues as Nico careens down the Long Walls of Piraeus and travels to Ephesus where he is reunited with Diotima, priestess to Artemis. Unfortunately, Nico is lugging a rather young, very pretty slave named Asia,
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: whodunnit
Another pleasant entry by Mr. Corby--will happily read the rest of these--and they do sort of remind me strongly of Lindsay Davis. As the author points out at the end, it is helpful to see crime and culpability through Greek eyes--basically as long as you had some plausible deniability, you were innocent. Takes place mostly in the Persian empire, where Nico gets sent by Pericles to investigate a crime that leads to the doorstop of Themistocles. I spent a year on Herodotus, so I was excited to se ...more
Kelly Knapp
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Three types of people will thoroughly enjoy this novel. First, the mystery buff will love the detailed and intricate mystery. Second, the flat-foot buff will bend his/her fondness to a story that follows the actions of an ancient private dick. And finally, the history aficionado will peruse this tale for both the accuracies and the inaccuracies. One quickly learns that no one is beyond suspicion as Nico traces the clues and chases the bad guys. Nico finds himself ensnared with a second job when ...more
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The World's Liter...: Ionia Sanction, sequel to Pericles Commission 3 15 Aug 05, 2012 01:30PM  

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I'm the author of the Athenian Mysteries.

Nicolaos, the ambitious son of a minor sculptor, walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles.

Murder and mayhem don't faze Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating 12 yea

Other books in the series

The Athenian Mysteries (7 books)
  • The Pericles Commission (The Athenian Mysteries, #1)
  • Sacred Games (The Athenian Mysteries, #3)
  • The Marathon Conspiracy (The Athenian Mysteries, #4)
  • Death Ex Machina (The Athenian Mysteries, #5)
  • The Singer from Memphis (The Athenian Mysteries #6)
  • Death on Delos (The Athenian Mysteries, #7)

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