This is no pedantic recreation of a classical period, but an intimate, lively, diary-like fictionization of Athenian life of the age of Alcibiades and Cleon. Nicanor, well-born, personifies period and place, and the portrait achieves a moderation that is plausible. His interests, his family, his military occupations (war between Athens and Sparta sets a background), his social-economic commitments, give a personal sense of a living panorama of history, plus a reflection of the political, cultural, emotional temper of daily life. Readers who enjoyed Graves' I. Claudius will like it. Their number is not large-but they are worth cultivating.