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The Pericles Commission

(The Athenian Mysteries #1)

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  767 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Nicolaos walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles. His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. It's a job not made any easier by the depressingly increasing number of dead witnesses.

But murder and mayhem don
...more
Hardcover, United States, 335 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published October 12th 2010)
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3.75  · 
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 ·  767 ratings  ·  160 reviews


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Richard Derus
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: Nicolaos walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles. His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. It’s a job not made any easier by the depressingly increasing number of dead witnesses.

But murder and mayhem don’t bother Nico; what’s really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima
...more
Marieke
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fun mysteries
Recommended to Marieke by: Beth Asmaa
This first mystery novel by Gary Corby was surprisingly fun and i'm looking forward to the next books in the series. Not only was it fun, but it has increased my interest tenfold to finally buckle down and learn about Antiquity by reading classic texts and other history books i have lying around.

I gave it four stars, but in some ways it is a (strong) 3.5 star book for me. Some of the writing was a little uneven and had it been another author i may have bumped it down to three stars, but i know
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Beth Asmaa
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story, especially the likable characters who found themselves in surprising circumstances. As I enjoy history and literature, this was the best of both worlds. I also liked the way it imaginatively developed and magnified a relatively obscure but important episode in Greece, whose legacy for the modern world developed right here. Corby has mastered irony, fast pacing, and suspense. The sequel in this Hellene Mystery series will take the detective hero Nicolaus from Athens into Persia, ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, beginning in early 2018 I started reading "new" mystery authors. Writers that are out there that I had never heard of. This is another example of the continuing pattern. I stumbled across Gary Corby's books, and I must admit I was intrigued just by the cover. While you cannot tell a book by its cover, lately the covers have been 100% correct. This is the first of The Athenian mysteries, I think there are 7 published as of the date I am writing this. It is a wonderfully detailed ...more
Jemidar

If you are looking for a light cosy type mystery with a different setting then this may well be the book for you. Just don't expect more than that as the historical setting is mostly of the wallpaper variety and although the mystery involves a political assassination this is in no way a political thriller. It definitely isn't in the same league as some of the mystery series' set in Ancient Rome which is what I'd hoped for, but more a fluffy bit of fun.
Leslie
3.5*

A fictional investigation into a historical murder. Corby does a good job showing his reader daily life in 461 B.C. Athens (and I wish that I had discovered the glossary at the end earlier!) and provided enough explanation of the politics at the time (which were a factor in the murder). I also appreciated his Author's Note at the end which explained which parts where historical, which reasonable guesses and which entirely fictional.

One historically accurate bit took me aback -- in this time
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Jane
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it
'Cozy' mystery set in ancient Athens, at the birth of democracy. I enjoyed it well enough; adjectives I'd use are: silly, farcical, humorous, at different points in the story. A man is shot with an arrow and falls at the feet of Nicolaos, the protagonist. Apparently, the victim has fallen from the sky. Nico is commissioned by Pericles, the politician and one of the founders of democracy, to find the killer. Pericles just happens to come by right then. Nico decides he wants to be a politician and ...more
Laura
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all historical mystery fans
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie, Susanna
This is the first book of the "Athenian Mysteries" and I really liked it.

The plot is based on the true story of Ephialtes' assassination. The crime investigation is led by his lieutenant - Pericles and his friend, Nicolaos, whose brother is Socrates.

With plenty of mystery and humor, the author describes quite well the set in fifth-century B.C.E. Greece.

A promising series to be followed.

Thanks dear Bettie to provide this "book wit a passport:, I really enjoyed it.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
A fun little historical mystery. Recommended for fans of the flipness of Falco.

For a further review: http://susannag.booklikes.com/post/68... .
DomoKete
Aug 02, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish. I just can't get into cozy mysteries. I don't need graphic violence or extreme psychological drama, but maybe an edge or some depth to keep things interesting. I also can't seem to enjoy historical fiction. The history part, while interesting on a factual level, doesn't engage me. This book itself feels like a slapstick comedy which i've never enjoyed. Would have likely been 2 stars.
KarenF
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this up totally on a whim at the library, the cover kept catching my eye, and I'm very glad I did. This was a fun mystery with likable characters and a lot of wit. While the overall tone of the book was pretty lighthearted it didn't shy away from some of the uglier sides of life in Ancient Athens. It never comes across as a lecture but the fate of slaves, women and basically anyone else who wasn't a "citizen" isn't candy coated.

But for all that the book is actually great fun. Certain r
...more
Sheri South
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I won a copy of THE MARATHON CONSPIRACY, the fourth book in the series, in a Goodreads giveaway, so I hurried to the library to check out the first book and read the series in order. What a discovery! Greek history, lots of humor, a yummy young hero, and a romance thread--what's not to love? This was a fun read, and I look forward to reading the next installment.

Updated 4/12/15: Some mysteries don't stand up to re-reads; once you know "whodunnit," there's just not enough to make a return trip sa
...more
Carolyn
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I've been searching for! I was teaching my children Greek history and my daughter, 13, is just fascinated by this subject. I get so caught up in their studies, so I wanted something fun to read set in Classical Greece. I couldn't wait to start this book and I was not disappointed at all!
I passed it on to my daughter at once and she is enjoying the mystery along with the reinforcement of some history. There is nothing in this novel that a 13 year old has not already seen on TV an
...more
Sonal
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is about a murder mystery set in ancient Greece during the time of the history's earliest democratic movement. The leader of the movement is murdered and the commission for investigating the assassination accidentally falls upon Nicolaos who is currently a no-one, and sees this as an opportunity to make his name in Athenian politics.
The plot seemed interesting and series of murders that follow makes the case more complex but Nicolaos is no Hercule Poirot and the way investigation prog
...more
Karen
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, review-books
Of course Ancient Greeks didn't "sound" Australian, but there's nothing wrong with the idea that they had senses of humour, the ability to comment on their own actions, and a strong understanding of the way that the world in which they moved worked and if that feeling has to be imparted in a way that we can "get" why not in our sort of voice? At first the gentle humour and the very Australian voices in THE PERICLES COMMISSION came as a bit of a surprise, albeit a rather pleasant one, but the mor ...more
Seth
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Pericles Chronicle is a fictional account of an investigation into the assassination of Ephialtes, who was an actual historical figure killed in 461 BC a few days after introducing democracy in Athens. The investigator, who serves as narrator, was an imaginary figure created by author Gary Corby as the older brother of Socrates when he was a boy. In addition, many of the events, although plausible in view of what is known of the period, were also invented. As Corby acknowledges in the afterw ...more
Colleen
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: whodunnit
Really enjoyed this book! And for a first novel, an incredibly strong one. If you like any of the ancient Rome historical mysteries or just that genre in general, you should also like this one. Ancient Greece is a tough one I think to get right--even though a democracy, far more alien I think to us now, than the more familiar republic or empire of Rome. Perhaps partially because of how the Greeks treated women (not human, on par with animals, who could be killed for basically any whim and were n ...more
Shubhra Aurita  Roy
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable book, that I found hard to put down. I was on holiday yet kept sneaking in time during sightseeing as the book really drew me in.

It has wonderful characters, humour and detailed descriptions of ancient Athens. The characters are drawn out beautifully. While some reviewers have questioned whether the characters are authentic and original to the time period, I would say for me, the experience was enjoyable as they were as authentic as possible while writing in the today's languag
...more
Jay
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
An ancient Athenian murder mystery. Simple (that's a compliment); maybe "clean" is a better way to describe it. I find the protagonist's "stoicism" (an anachronism, since the events take place 150 years prior to Zeno's earliest teaching) to be too artificial. And I'm always leery of strong female characters in fictional antiquities; although in his end Note, the author claims scholarly support for both the situation, and the particular female character (confirmed by Wikipedia). So I'm going to g ...more
Joel Mitchell
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
History tells us that the architect of ancient Athens' first democratic government was assassinated a few days after democracy was enacted; little information other than the name of the assassin survives. Gary Corby starts with this event and creates an entertaining historical novel that is part murder mystery and part political thriller with a dash of humor. The protagonist is Nicholaos, the older brother of Socrates (yes, that Socrates and no, there is no historical record of Nicholaos) who is ...more
Ali
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
This book had a fun concept (solving a murder in newly democratic Athens) and covered an interesting time (apparently) historically accurately. I'm only giving it three stars, though, because of the writing style. First, I thought it felt overly simplistic and written down -- it sounds like a young adult novel at times, and I don't think it's supposed to (given that a courtesan is a main character, etc.). Second, I had a hard time keeping track of the characters, even with the character list in ...more
Vickie
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook
Historic mysteries are fab for me. I get the mystery and I get to learn something about a certain time in history. Ancient Greece is the setting here and politics are at the center of the story.
The main character, Nicolaus or Nico, is looking into what to do with his life. Does he want to go into politics and make a difference in Athens or become a sculptor like his father? His decision is sort of made for him when he witnesses the murder of a leading statesman and is set on the investigation p
...more
Argum
Really enjoyed this Ancient Greece mystery. Nico is Socrates older brother and a case literally falls in his path when the founder of democracy in Athens is felled by an arrow. Pericles wanders up right after and commissions the young son of a sculptor to find the culprit. High stakes politics and deadly family ambitions mingle with ancient details as Nico stumbles around Athens picking up clues and enemies. Many characters are pieced together from the scant historical record of their existence ...more
Ned
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
The Pericles Commission is a perfectly serviceable mystery set in ancient Greece. Sometimes the explanatory information is shoehorned inelegantly into the narrative, but there is a lot of background to go over for those readers (like me) who aren't aware of many facts of ancient Greek life. The murder mystery itself, though, left me a little cold.

I wish there were more books in this genre. I feel that this book was not nearly as much fun as "Murder at the Panionic Games" by Michael B. Edwards, w
...more
Meaghan
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a reasonably good mystery, with plenty of twists and turns as well as humorous moments. The author did a good job of educating the reader on the life and times of ancient Athens without sounding like a history lecturer. I thought it was over-long though, and it didn't make me feel a strong urge to go out and get the sequel. A solid B.

If you liked this book I would recommend the book Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day, a nonfiction title with a similar feel and, obviously, the same setti
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Phair
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
A little slow getting into this because of all the social & political background that dragged down the action. Once I felt grounded in the setting it moved along OK. I know when I wasn't actually reading it I was still thinking about who might have been the murderer. The actual solution felt a tad convoluted but in the end was satisfactory. Many aspects felt similar to Davis' Falco series. The author's end note indicated where Niko's next adventure will take him and while not anxiously awai ...more
Lance McMurchy
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the best historical fiction based in ancient Greece I have read so far, not there are very many books around that focus on this period. I thought Gary did a great job of creating the feel of Athens during its transition to democracy.Though the story struggled with its complexity; I felt a bit lost at times. And it needed some more character development of some of the protagonists to understand them better. otherwise, the story did come together well at the end. But this is not the sort o ...more
Angie Boyter
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2016
Having read book 6 first, I hoped that the debut book would not be a disappointment. It wasn't! This book has more details about ancient Greek culture and everyday life than The Singer from Memphis, but otherwise it is again a fun story set against an event in Greek history. The nice understated wry humor is also here but perhaps not quite as strong as in the 6th book.
I'd be hard-pressed to say which I enjoyed more.
Thea
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery fans, Historical fiction fans
I'm a new fan-- I read the 3rd book first, which was a teeny bit of a spoiler,but I also liked it so much I went back and read all of them from the 1st--which is this book--The Pericles Commission. I love his ability to tell a ripping good story while revealing the most fascinating bits of ancient Greek culture. Never pedantic or lecturing he brings this world to life.
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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
...more

Other books in the series

The Athenian Mysteries (7 books)
  • The Ionia Sanction (The Athenian Mysteries, #2)
  • 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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