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Sacred Games

(The Athenian Mysteries #3)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  409 ratings  ·  96 reviews
The third book in the critically acclaimed series set in Classical Athens, featuring the historically inspired amateur detective Nicolaos.
It is the Olympics of 460 BC. Nico's best friend, Timodemus, is a competitor in the pankration, the deadly martial art of ancient Greece. Timo is hot favorite to win. His only serious rival is Arakos from Sparta. When Arakos is found be
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Soho Crime (first published January 1st 2013)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  409 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Description: It is the Olympics of 460 BC. Nico's best friend, Timodemus, is a competitor in the pankration, the deadly martial art of ancient Greece. Timo is hot favorite to win. His only serious rival is Arakos from Sparta. When Arakos is found beaten to death, it is obvious Timodemus must be the killer. Who else could have killed the second-best fighter in all Hellas but the very best? The Judges of the Games sentence Timodemus to be executed in four days' time, as soon as the Sacred Games ha ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was quite good and would give it a 4.5 stars if that option were available. I found the second book in this series to be simultaneously too grim and too broad (in comedic terms). This one, however, is more focused and refined. I loved the atmosphere of the ancient Olympic Games. I learned a bit about the culture and practices of the times. Even though ancient Greek culture is almost over-studied in schools, Corby makes it feel alive and vital and normal. The mystery was interestin ...more
Beth Asmaa
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very exciting read, especially in the last half when the ending comes as a total surprise. The story brings back the main characters and some other characters from prior books in Corby's mystery series set in Ancient Greece. There's five in the series as of this date. Having now read the first three of them, I must admit this third book is the best ever. I'm wondering how the next ones The Marathon Conspiracy and Death Ex Machina will be, so am eager to read those latest books as well.

The mai
Diane Close
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
Overall nicely descriptive, but ultimately lacking in mystery. I knew (view spoiler) who had done the murder. There was no other explanation for this action, and to clearly telegraph it this far in advance was ridiculous. It was simply a matter of waiting for the hero to start thinking with his head instead of his penis in order to solve the whodunnit.

There was far too much sex and not enough
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Delightful mystery set in the 460 B.C. Olympiad. Nicolaos and his fiancée [or is she his wife?] set out to solve the violent death of a Spartan pankratist. Timo, an Athenian pankratist and Nico's good friend, is accused of the murder. To try to keep down the rivalry between Athens and Sparta, Nico the Athenian and Markos the Spartan are tasked to solve the murder together. Fluffy, light reading of only a couple of hours. I like the way Corby works in ancient Greek customs [in this case mostly at ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Fun historical mystery set at the Olympics of 460 B.C. I shudder to think how popular the pankration would be if revived.

For a further review: .
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Think Lindsey Davis' Falco set in Athens. Entertaining, unconventional couple find a murderer during the Olympic Games.
Brenda A
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Sacred Games is exactly the kind of book I never thought I'd find. A fictitious story about ancient Greek cities and ancient Greek people? It is an original idea that is pulled off extremely well, blending real documented events and people with the imaginings of Gary Corby.

Nicolaos, a sleuth of the ancient world, is at the Sacred Games at Olympia to see his friend Timodemus compete in the sport of pankration. After a few brief debacles, we come to find that one of Timo's biggest rivals is murder
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: whodunnit
Best of the series so far! Returning from their assignment in Themistocles' court, married without permission, Nico and Diotima are at the Olympic games, trying to persuade their respective families to agree to the union and solve a murder. The slain is a Spartan, the accused is an Athenian, and he's got just a few days to figure out who the culprit is!--Pindar is helpful; Hippocrates is just a little baby, so his dad helps out; and Queen Gorgo and Diotima share a couple of adorable moments.

A l
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Another solid addition to the series.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: period-mystery
This sort of thing is right up my alley. Socrates and I have been an "item" since the mid'80s. I remember reading up on the Pankration at the Manhattan Public Library while Temple researched the return of Picasso's "Guernica" to Spain. Temple is the one who complained that my plays seemed to have sprung fully grown from the forehead of Steve Allen. Fair enough.

The clues were laid out a bit too obviously, but I enjoyed the thoroughly researched background and will certainly read more of these as
Sophia Johnson
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Irish Nelson
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Nicolaus and Diotima consider themselves to be married, but since his father and her stepfather can't agree on Diotima's dowry, they disagree. They have all gathered at Olympia for the Sacred Games, where Nico expects to only be an observer. But when his old friend Timodemus is accused of murdering Arakos, a Spartan athlete, and Timo's competitor in the pankration, Nico is appointed as one of the investigators into the crime. Since both Nico and Timo are Athenian, a Spartan, Markos, is also appo ...more
Clay Kallam
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This is actually a 3.5 star book, I'd say, going up or down depending on how much interest you have in life in Classical Greece. Since I'm very interested in the time period, I enjoyed "Sacred Games," which chronicles the adventures of one Nicolaos as he solves a murder mystery at the 80th Olympiad.

Gary Corby has created an engaging protagonist and surrounded him with interesting complementary characters (his wife Diotima and his brother Socrates (yes, that Socrates, but just a boy)), which make
Cel Jel
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another very entertaining book for Gary Corby set in Ancient Greece. The Olympics have rules that when broken lead to the conditions to start a war. A fledgling democracy does not want war, and so when a death occurs a new competition is added to the Olympic Games. Reading the authors note after the book is fascinating, for having heard of one of the societies and a bit about its way of life, more was revealed in this book.
Well worth a read.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Every time I read a book in this series, I feel like I'm taking a mini vacation in ancient Greece. This time, the plot takes us to a murder mystery at the Olympic Games as Niko and Diotima are in a race against time to prove their friend's innocence before rising tensions between Athens and Sparta cause a war to break out.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Corby weaves in lots of info about Ancient Greece as his detective solves a crime at the 80th Olympic games. It was quite timely for me as the winter Olympics were being held coincidentally at the same time I was reading this book. But apart from that, I found this book, #3 in the series, to be much better written than the previous one.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't always post every book I read in a series, but this series just gets better and better. I especially love that author Gary Corby always includes a comprehensive what is true and what I invented section at the back. So many details and the era comes alive.
Sylvia Dugan
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found this story dragged quite a bit with too many details about the customs at the Olympic Games and too much emphasis on sex between the characters involved. A little is good, a lot gets boring. Not as interesting to me as the previous books in the series that I've read.
Mary K.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This series is an interesting change of pace from the cozy murders I have been reading.
The names are difficult but I love the new vocabulary I am learning. And I love hearing about ancient history. I have been Googling ancient Greek pottery, writing, and fashion.
Go figure.
Barbara Evans
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed discovering a new mystery series set in Antiquity.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is an impressive level of specificity in describing the extent of nudity in each Olympian competition. I appreciate that sort of devotion to detail in my historical fiction.
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Murder, mayhem and history. What could be better?
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vallery Feldman
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the Olympics. And this books gives a very good picture of the original, historical Olympics in all their glory and mess. Very entertaining. I very much enjoy this series.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
The Socrates cameos are hilarious.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Received a copy from SoHo Press

Entertaining and enlightening. I learned a lot about the ancient Olympics and the culture and politics of the era (politics were not very different from today, just physically bloodier) while being entertained by well drawn characters and a complex plot. I'll look for other books in this series.
I had looked forward to reading this book which I won in a Goodreads giveaway. It is the third in a mystery series set in ancient Greece and I had greatly enjoyed the first two entries in the series.

Then, only a few pages into the book, I read something that made me want to toss the tome across the room. Tell me, do you see anything wrong with this sentence?

"He'd seen Timo and I play together when we were children."

Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it

The title, Sacred Games refers to the Olympic Games which occur in 460 BC, but this is more of a murder mystery than a play-by-play of the sporting events. This book is third in a series by the Australian author Gary Corby which features the investigator Nicolaos of Athens and his female companion Diotima.

Corby has done extensive research on the Greek culture and historical data which he incorporates into his fictional plot line with ease. The book is easy to read, as Corby has his characters us
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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)
  • The Ionia Sanction (The Athenian Mysteries, #2)
  • 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)