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The Gates of Hell by Paul Doherty
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An account of Alexander taking Halicarnassus with a murder mystery thrown in. The story is atmospheric, dramatic and exciting. What makes it so interesting is that the story is about historic figures that have become legendary. The murder mystery fits in very well with the accurate battle description of 334 BC. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Mar 29, 2016 |
In 334 B.C., Alexander the Great's march toward world conquest halts before the formidable battlements of Halicarnassus in the third installment of British author Doherty's riveting historical series featuring the sleuthing of Telamon the physician. Scholars race to decipher the enigmatic Pythian Manuscript, which holds the secrets of a fatal weakness in the city's defenses, as well as the location of a fabulous treasure, while spies haunt the Macedonians' camp and counter-spies lurk within the walled fortress. The body of the scribe Pamenes is found on the pavement below his locked room, the so-called ghost-chamber (whose floorboards creak like a ship's rigging when walked upon), and Telamon must decide if his death is accident or murder. Soon other more obvious murders occur, including another body found strangled in the ghost-chamber (even the mysterious death of the villa's cat!). Amid the battles and siege of the city, crucifixion of captured spies and dispatching of soldiers whose wounds cannot be cured, the physician keeps to his investigations. "I cannot explain the deaths of thousands. I can only concentrate on the task in hand. It keeps me sane." Telamon, who wasn't quite a dominant element in the previous novels (The House of Death and The Godless Man), comes to full literary life in these pages, as the prolific Doherty moves masterfully from a terrifically atmospheric prologue through the fiery fall of Halicarnassus. As usual with this assured writer, the solution to the crimes is extremely satisfying.
added by VivienneR | editPublisher's Weekly
It’s 334 b.c. As confident Alexander the Great prepares to attack the wealthy city of Halicarnassus, a secret killer threatens his tightly organized assault.

Knowing that their army is no match for the Macedonian conqueror, the brain trust of Halicarnassus—Machiavellian spymaster Lord Mithra, commander-in-chief Memnon, and governor Orontobates—send secret operatives into the heart of Alexander’s camp. Much speculation swirls around a treasured and encoded Pythian manuscript Alexander has. Memnon, securing a copy, wants to translate it, thinking it may contain the strategic secret to victory in the upcoming battle or the true identity of the assassin of King Philip, Alexander’s father. When Pamenes, a scribe who’s been working to decode the manuscript, dies in a suspicious fall, Alexander’s physician and close friend Telamon suspects foul play and begins to investigate. Before long, he’s dealing with venomous snakes, poisoned cheese, and more dead bodies. As interested in dramatizing the preparations for the siege as the search for the killer, Doherty mixes Alexander’s crises with Memnon’s strategies in Halicarnassus. The colorful murder suspects include a vain and oversexed acting couple named Gentius and Demerata and the aptly named Cassandra, an advisor who often foretells disaster.

In this third series entry (The Godless Man, 2002, etc.), Doherty effectively accelerates the tension and the bloodshed as Telamon approaches the solution. Astute puzzle fans may even be able to crack the code.
added by VivienneR | editKirkus Reviews
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Then Alexander set his heart on showing his father his prowess. - Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, Book 16, Chapter 86
This book is dedicated to Sarah and Laura Murray, beloved students of Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green, Essex
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The road from Mylasa to Halicarnassus had been cleared for the passage of the Great One, the personal emissary of Darius, King of Kings.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786711574, Hardcover)

Spurred by dreams of conquest but dogged by treachery, the volatile young Alexander has set his ambitious eyes on the prize city of Halicarnassus in this new novel by Paul Doherty—a writer who offers what Publishers Weekly calls "a rare example of historical fiction that isn't overloaded with history and doesn't give suspense short shrift." It is 334 B.C. Exultant with victory, Alexander is marching south to Halicarnassus, a city of treasures and an ancestry that links the bold but superstitious conqueror to his assassinated father's past. Outside the city, at the farmstead where Alexander's court and commanders set up camp, a series of gruesome murders draws the great warrior's trusted friend, the physician Telamon, into a search for Persian spies operating inside the Macedonian ranks and reaping a bloody harvest through intrigue, terror, and sabotage. And on the other side of the famous Triple Gate in the city's fortified walls, three formidable enemies—the Lion Darius's commander-in-chief Memnon of Rhodes, the Persian satrap Orontobates, and the Greek renegade Ephialtes—lay the trap they have cunningly devised to make this battle Alexander's hellish last.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:19 -0400)

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Telamon, the great physician-detective of antiquity, investigates Persian spies as his master, Alexander the Great, heads to the city of Halicarnassus on his legendary march west.

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