Not just any murder, either; it's the assassination of Philip of Macedon. Scores of witnesses saw Pausanias, commander of Philip's palace guard, stab his master to death as he entered the amphitheater to be hailed as captain general of Greece. But since they also saw Pausanias buried under the blows of his former underlings in the guard (shades of Jack Ruby) moments after the assassination, questions still abound. Did Pausanias kill Philip in revenge for an exceptionally brutal prank his lord had connived at, or was he acting for someone else? And given the number of people with powerful reasons for wanting Philip dead- -his rejected former queen Olympias, his half-wit son Arridhaeus, his crafty chief of staff Antipater, the scheming orator Demosthenes, and Olympias' son Alexander, destined to succeed his father as Alexander the Great—which of them could it have been? These questions come from the historical record of Philip's death; pseudonymous Apostolou (``a critically acclaimed [British] author of historical mysteries'') adds a pair of upstart twins, Alexander's Jewish-Egyptian friends Miriam and Simeon Bartimaeus, to question Philip's intimates—one after another of them swimming into suspicion—to uncover their ties to a Persian conspiracy and the cult of a dead pharaoh; and finally to produce a handsome pair of surprises. Obviously modeled on Steven Saylor's tales of Imperial Rome, though the Bartimaeus twins have nothing like Gordianus the Finder's presence or wisdom. The centerpiece remains irrepressible Alexander, flexing his muscles like a young god.
Read full book review >