A high priestess’s sleuthing makes her the target of a crafty serial killer.
While the rulers of ancient Sparta are engaged in sensitive negotiations with a delegation of traders from the Black Sea, Iliona, High Priestess of Eurotas, and her colleague Jocasta are busy advising an endless stream of locals with mostly petty concerns. Iliona’s ongoing friction with Lysander, the abrasive head of Krypteia, Sparta’s Secret Police, continues as the duo butt heads over the King’s plan to build a public library and gymnasium a stone’s throw from her temple. But now Lysander visits Iliona with a darker purpose. He seeks her help in finding the killer of three unknown persons found in different locations, one of them skewered like a pig on a giant spit. Lysander egotistically believes that the killer is trying to besmirch the reputation of Krypteia, but the Spartan government suspects rival Athens of perpetrating the crimes. As Iliona begins a wide-ranging probe stretching from the slave quarters to the palace, she faces treachery from within. Jealous priestess Ariadne, certain she was cheated of the Eurotas position by Iliona’s relationship to her cousin the King, ponders revenge. Even with more bodies, neither Lysander nor Iliona can discern a pattern. The reader, however, gets ominous glimpses of the killer, who clearly hates both women and the Spartan aristocracy.
Iliona’s second case (Blind Eye, 2007) contains Todd’s usual feast of historical detail, along with a more sardonic voice than that found in her raucous, long-running I, Claudia series.