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Freaks and Greeks
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message 1: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Bowden | 10 comments Hi all
So, my mother read my book, and said: "You write such a good story. If only you would write something more...popular."
Bless you, mother (It was better than her comment about my first novel, 'Undead Kelly': "It was a bit slow to start...")
But yes, my second novel is out now, and yes, it is again a history/monster mash up. What can I say? I enjoy the intellectual challenge of taking a known set of events and injecting another element, and seeing how the chronology can still make sense.
Plus, I think the undead make such a good metaphor - in this case, the infectious nature of power.
'Freaks and Greeks' is basically a reworking of Herodotus' 'The Histories', with a focus on Miltiades, the Athenian general who won the battle of Marathon, and arguably saved Athenian democracy.
We have a number of facts about him - his dad was an Olympic champion, murdered by the tyrants who then ruled the city. He was sent on a mission to safeguard the city's grain. He married a Thracian princess. He was prosecuted back in Athens but survived - and then won this famous battle.
It was fun to create a character out of these bits and pieces, to flesh him out with flaws and hopes.
Anyway, I'm hoping people might give it a go. It isn't schlock horror, though at times I guess it is visceral.
Happy to answer any questions.

message 2: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Bowden | 10 comments Very pleased to receive this review from Fred E Ray, author of several books dealing with hoplite warfare in Classical Greece!

Exciting and terrifying!

ByFred E. Rayon June 28, 2017

Format: Paperback
Verified Purchase

I truly enjoyed Freaks and Greeks! It's quite rare to find something so entertaining and informative at the same time. While the story line includes what might seem a way-out premise, with ancient warriors facing a zombie plague, that sole fantasy element is so well tied into factual reality that never once does it seem strained. You can virtually see, hear, and (most of all) smell those terrifying creatures, experiencing the gut-level horror and disgust they inspire right along with the book's human cast. And the author certainly knows his Herodotus and Nepos, drawing on those and other sources to inject a vast store of excellent historical information into his tale. Yet he does this so cleverly that what might otherwise be pedantic melds seamlessly in service of what is in the end simply a great, ripping yarn. There's also a lot of heart here, with characters drawn from history and the writer's imagination alike that ring true in their dialogue and actions to reveal deep, multiple dimensions. They make you care about them for better or worse at an emotional level - at least that's what happened to me, with feelings often welling up unbidden as I read.

I want to make particular mention here of the book's action sequences. These are quite marvelous set pieces that give the reader a visceral feel for the strange mixture of surrounding chaos and individual focus that must have characterized this (or any other) era's battles for a sane person caught up in their inherent madness. As a writer myself of military history in this period (late 6th - early 5th century BC) and an avid consumer of its literature, both academic and fictional, I can honestly say that I've never come across anything more simultaneously thrilling and terrifying in the brutally realistic depiction of men in the grip of mortal combat. And that comes in spite of contributions from flesh-eating zombies! So skillfully has the author woven those undead monstrosities into events that it's actually hard to believe they never existed.

Bottom line: If you like either brilliantly written ancient history or truly imaginative dark fiction, then this is the book for you! And you should also check out Timothy Bowden's previous novel, Undead Kelly, which is equally well crafted.

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