Gary Corby’s Sacred Games was SO much fun!
For starters: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. The copy I read was an Advanced Reader Copy, and I believe I’m posting this review just before publication date.
My recommendation: HIGLY recommended! Although this is the third book in Gary Corby’s series, you do not have to have read the previous two books in order to understand what’s going on. So if you haven’t read The Pericles Commission or The Ionia Sanction, just pick this up now and dive in anyway. You can go back and read the other two later.
(Off-topic: Last year I told my daughter about ARCs, and how in the publishing industry they use them to drum up some advance reviews, but mere mortals like us don’t ever get our hands on them. She was excited when I won this copy, but we’re still mere mortals. Oh, and although she wanted to read it too…no. Parents will want to excercise discretion in whether they allow their children to read it; this is an adult book with some hints at sexual situations and one graphic death. But I’ll still photograph her holding the book.)
The setup, with no spoilers: It’s the Olympic Games of 460BC and one of the top athletes from Athens is accused of murdering one of the top athletes from Sparta. The already-tense political situation has been even further upset by this crime, so if Nico can’t solve the murder by the last day of the Olympic games, his friend Timo will be executed…and most likely Sparta and Athens will go to war.
What I really liked: Nico has a great personality. He’s in over his head, but he’s earnest and smart, and he’s very relatable. His wife is brilliant, and he treats her with respect (plus, they just have a great rapport.) Nico’s younger brother is Socrates (yes, the Socrates) and some of my favorite scenes involve Socrates as a brilliant and somewhat geeky annoyance to his older brother. I also really liked the depiction of Markos’s character, but I’m not going to say why because it’s spoiler-y. Although the mystery itself is serious, there’s plenty of humorous moments, and they all arise naturally from the interplay of the characters.
Go ahead and read Sacred Games without reservation.