Author(s): Roger Hudson
In Ancient Athens in 461BC, aristocratic General Kimon has driven back the might of the Persian Empire and forged a new empire for Athens, making his city the commercial centre of the Eastern Mediterranean. Now he is struggling for his political existence against the radical democratic reforms of the demagogue Ephialtes and his ambitious supporter Perikles. Into this political turmoil steps Lysanias, just 18, just reached manhood, and an innocent amidst the deceit and corruption of the big city. Recalled from an Athenian colony by a mysterious message from his wealthy uncle Klereides, he discovers that his uncle has died in suspicious circumstances, that he is the heir, and that his obligations nowinclude marrying his uncle's teenage widow. Convinced that his uncle was murdered and driven by the ancient duty of vengeance, Lysanias sets out to discover the truth, aided by his elderly slave Sindron. Their investigations take them deep into the murky interlocking worlds of Athenian politics, business, finance, religion and even art, where it seems Klereides had many enemies and where even his friends cannot be trusted. With his own loyalties torn between the rival political factions, aristocrats and workers, due to his early training as an artisan, Lysanias himself faces violent death before he and Sindron discover the culprit and Ephialtes' assassin.
I chose to set my mysteries in ancient Athens in 461BC because it was an exciting time with lots of dramatic events. Democrats were taking over from rule by the rich and the surge of creativity in the arts that led to the Golden Age of Athens was beginning. Along with this went plenty of rivalry, anger, greed, fraud and political dirty tricks - fascinating. I found I needed three detectives to investigate in this complex society - young Lysanias, his elderly slave Sindron and his murdered uncle's young widow Philia I live in Drogheda on the river Boyne in Ireland, a large historic town 30 miles north of Dublin with my wife Sheila. At the end of our street is a massive stone barbican or gatehouse, the only survivor of the medieval town walls. The most ancient of the many historic and pre-historic sites in nearby Boyne Valley is Newgrange, the oldest man-made structure in Europe, even older than the pyramids and well before the time of my novel.