In ancient Greece, High Priestess Iliona turns sleuth to catch a serial killer.
Sicily, 466 BCE. A young stallion and his mother are brutally struck down by an anonymous killer. A few hundred miles away in Greece, Iliona has a tense meeting at which she is informed that the King seeks to replace her. Once she’s menaced, Iliona’s situation deteriorates rapidly. She receives an unheralded visit from Lysander, the smilingly brutal head of the Krypteia, Sparta’s secret police force. Correctly suspecting that Iliona is harboring a 12-year-old fugitive, Lysander sticks to her like glue. Meanwhile, a series of violent killings plagues the region. The reader is privy to intermittent cuts from the perspective of an unnamed character known as The Serpent who sadistically savors these murderous acts. Lysander is a likely, but obvious, suspect. Iliona’s colleagues Jocasta, Phillip and Roxana are not to be trusted. So she begins a quiet investigation of her own. She finds that citizens are quivering with detailed stories about attacks from the Cyclops. Of course, the Cyclops is mythical, but still...
Todd, author of the raucous and numerous “I, Claudia” tales (Scorpion Rising, 2006, etc.), casts an eerier mood in this series kickoff but provides the same abundance of historical tidbits and robust prose. The sequels should be equally entertaining.