cover image Sacred Games

Sacred Games

Gary Corby. Soho Crime, $25.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-61695-227-3

The Olympic Games of 460 B.C.E. form the backdrop for Australian author Corby’s third mystery featuring Athenian investigator Nicolaos (after 2011’s The Ionia Sanction), his best thus far. Before they even begin, Nico’s oldest friend, Timodemus, a martial arts champion, is goaded into a public fight by his fiercest rival, a Spartan named Arakos. That confrontation makes Timodemus the prime suspect after Arakos is found battered to death. Desperate to save his friend from summary execution, Nico manages to convince “the Ten Judges of the Games” to give him several days to find the truth. Doing so could avert a war between Athens and Sparta. Partnered with a Spartan, Markos, to avert bias in his findings, and aided by his feisty fiancée, Diotima, Nico has an especially twisted path to tread to reach an answer in time. Corby integrates the political intrigue of the day with fair-play plotting and welcome doses of humor. Fans of Steven Saylor’s Gordianus novels will be enthralled. Agent: Janet Reid, FinePrint Literary. (May)