Turteltaub (the pseudonym of historical-fantasist Harry Turtledove, Colonization, 2001, etc.) takes an excursion to ancient Greece. In 310 b.c., Greece still dominates the Western (and much of the Eastern) world, but there are some ominous clouds on the horizon: Alexander the Great is dead, his Empire is overextended, and a power struggle among his generals threatens to erupt into civil war. We see all of this through the eyes of the sailor Menedemos and his cousin and sidekick, the mathematician and philosopher Sostratos. Commanding the galley-ship Aphrodite (owned by their merchant fathers), Menedemos and Sostratos are less interested in earning money for their families than they are in capturing fame for themselves. They set out on a longer course than they have ever attempted before, far from their native Rhodes all the way to Italy and a little-known barbarian town called Rome. Sostratos discovers peoples, languages, plants, and animals unheard of in Greece, while the wily Menedemos harbors dreams of glory that go beyond simple riches to reach at the kind of power that was Alexander’s downfall. With a cargo of untold rarities captured from the new world of Rome, they try to find their way home to enjoy the fame that awaits them. But there are a few obstacles along the way. . . .
Aristotle meets Homer in this original tale of ideas and adventure.