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The Ionia Sanction by Gary Corby

The Ionia Sanction (edition 2011)

by Gary Corby

Series: Nicolaos (2)

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706171,029 (3.88)6
Title:The Ionia Sanction
Authors:Gary Corby
Info:Minotaur Books (2011), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Ionia Sanction by Gary Corby



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"I ran my finger along one foot of the corpse, then the other, making the body swing with a lazy, uncaring rhythm."

An Athenian official is murdered, Nicolaos, the main character is sent to Ionia within the Persian Empire.... If caught as a spy he'll be executed.

Don't bother, the protagonist is whiny and the rest of the characters; even Pericles sounds like twenty-something...... I ended up not like the characters, despite the fact that the story had an interesting premise.

The writing is simple and did not hold my interest..... I found the writing style & characters' voices to be incongruous with any type of historical style. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
Fast, furious, and fun exploration of family and loyalty set in Greek Ionia in 460 BC. Nico and Diotima must solve several murders, deal with the genius Themistocles, save Athens, and save their own lives.

This is the second in the Nico series by Australian author Gary Corby. He does a decent job of staying with the political facts of history while employing a breezy style of dialog. I recommend this book for mystery fans. ( )
  barlow304 | Aug 23, 2014 |
I'm enjoying this series. The world of Classical Athens is very far removed from ours, even if we can see clear lines of descent. ( )
  MikeRhode | Feb 21, 2014 |
The setting is Athens in 460BC and Nicolaos, son of Sophroniscus the sculptor, is struggling with his fledgling career as an investigator. However the city’s leader Pericles does call on Nico’s services when Thorian, an Athenian official, is found hanged as if he committed suicide. Nico soon determines that the man was murdered but is then given the more critical task of locating the murderer and retrieving a scroll containing important information which Thorian had in his possession prior to his death. When his plan to catch the murderer quickly goes astray Nico goes on something of an epic quest which sees him rescue a young girl from being consigned to a brothel and takes him to Ephesus where his former girlfriend Diotima has lived since Nico’s father refused them permission to marry. Once there Nico’s problems only get worse as he joins the bizarre household of a sworn enemy of Athens, Themistocles, and must convince Diotima he hasn’t taken up with any other women.

The historical aspects of this book, like those of its predecessor, are first rate. There is a lot of detail provided about life in Ancient Greece and this is done generally done as part of the story in an engaging way. I found the depiction of the differences between Greek and Persian cultures to be particularly compelling as it is done with a genuine curiosity and lack of judgement. As always for me it’s the little details about day-to-day life in different times that stick in my head and here there are many such pockets of interest. Nico’s aversion to the Persian habit of wearing trousers for example made me laugh; it doesn’t seem to matter what century we’re in we humans have difficulty with people who dress ‘funny’.

I was actually quite chuffed when I found this book in audio format but on reflection I’m not sure it was the best choice for the story, or at least not for me. The narrator, Erik Davies, did a great job with the voices but I’m afraid I found the narration a bit slow (it often happens for me with American narrators who just speak more slowly than the English ones I listen to a lot). But the main reason I struggled with the book in audio format is that it made the entirely modern language much more noticeable. As I remarked in my review of the first book in this series my personal preference is for historical fiction to make some effort to use language that sounds as if it belongs to the period. I acknowledge this is mostly artifice but it helps me transport myself to the different time being depicted. In audio format the modern phrases and terminology used throughout The Ionia Sanction grated more than I think they would have in print and I think this was the main factor in me struggling at times to remain swept up in the historical world.

The beginning and the end of this book are strong from a storytelling point of view, full of action, adventure and engaging little side threads to the main story. While it could just be another effect of the slow-talking narrator for whatever reason I didn’t find the period in the middle of the book where Nico is lingering at the estate of Themistocles (a period of several months) as compelling as the rest of the story. It just seems to meander a little too much for me as we discover some members of the household have a peculiar predilictions and there is a romantic interlude that goes on a bit too long (though I am the ultimate non-rmantic cynic) while life idles slowly by. Overall though Nico is really quite charming and carries the story well with his mix of naivety, ambition and growing intelligence.

I’m not sure I’d recommend the audio version of The Ionia Sanction unless you’re new to listening and want something a little slower to ease you into reading by your ears. However as a historical novel with loads of period detail and funny, engaging characters the book is a very enjoyable read. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Nico’s life has taken a decided downturn. Not only has his girlfriend, Diotima, left town, but Nico’s sponsor, Pericles, is threatening to fire Nico.
In order to keep his job, Nico agrees to transport a beautiful slave girl to Persia while investigating the murder of an Athenian statesman. But outwitting the brigands sent to kill him and solving the mystery of the murder may very well pale when Nico runs into Diotima with his slave girl in tow!
Gary Corby’s series has been likened to Lindsay Davis’ “Marcus Didius Falco” series, but that comparison only goes so far, in my opinion. Corby’s characters are just as compelling, his research into the time is excellent, and his storytelling is wonderful. But Gary Corby proves in this sequel to The Pericles Commission (Minotaur, $14.99, October) that he is his own author, and that he’s not afraid to write about customs as they really were, without prettying things up. There are a few scenes that had me glancing away from the page, but I had to go immediately back because his writing is so absorbing, and I really do care about what happens to the folks who inhabit Corby’s books. ( )
  SeaMystery | Jun 12, 2012 |
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I ran my finger along one foot of the corpse, then the other, making the body swing with a lazy, uncaring rhythm.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312599013, Hardcover)

"Corby has not only made Greek history accessible—he’s made it first-rate entertainment.” --Kelli Stanley, award-winning author of Nox Dormienda and City of Dragons

Athens, 460 B.C.  Life's tough for Nicolaos, the only investigating agent in ancient Athens.  His girlfriend's left him and his boss wants to fire him.  But when an Athenian official is murdered, the brilliant statesman Pericles has no choice but to put Nico on the job.

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 Wars, and then  defected to the hated enemy.

And to solve the crime, Nico must uncover a secret that could not only destroy Athens, but will force him to choose between love, and ambition, and his own life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hired by Pericles to investigate the murder of a proxenos to Ephesus, private investigator Nicolaus discovers a sobering plot to invade and destroy Athens and rescues the enslaved daughter of a powerful diplomat and infamous traitor.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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