Monday, February 28, 2005

The Tyrant

by Valerio Manfredi Books: The Tyrant [AUDIOBOOK]: "Sicily 412 AD: the infinite duel between a man and a superpower begins. The man is Dionysius of Syracuse. The superpower Carthage, mercantile megalopolis and mistress of the seas.

Dionysius, 20 years old, and a fearless combatant of the army of Syracuse, is forced to witness the horrifying massacre of Selinus - a splendid Greek city on the edge of the Carthaginian provinces - which he attributes to the fatal indecision of the democratic government. His rage and disdain foment three ironclad convictions in the young man: democracies are inefficient, the Carthaginians are mortal enemies of Hellenism and must be uprooted from Sicily, and no one but he is capable of achieving such an endeavour.

Dionysius dreams of transforming Sicily into a Greek island, and to achieve total control over the economic and military resources of his city he is willing to condemn himself in the eyes of history for centuries to come: to be eternally branded as the Tyrant.

Thus begins the adventure of a man who built the largest army of antiquity, invented dreadful war machines, designed and constructed the quinquereme (a five-module battleship powered by fifty oarsmen) and raised the most extensive circle of walls seen in just a few months. The adventure of a man who was also a dramatist and a statesman, a poet, a weaver of subtle political webs and a tender and vigorous lover, tied for all his life to the memory of his unfortunate first love, the beautiful Arete."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Serpent on the Crown

Queen of the Novel: "Serpent on the Crown, Barbara Mertz' (aka Elizabeth Peters) newest Peabody mystery and the 17th in the series, comes out this April. Mertz intends to follow Peabody and her fictional family up until the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in the fall of 1922, but Serpent, she says, is just before that. 'I'm having a lot of fun with this one, because one of my difficulties is that my hero, Amelia's husband, Emerson, is supposed to be such a hotshot, that he knows everything that's going on. Could I let Howard Carter find Tutankhamun and not let Emerson find him? Well I've gotten around it in this one, I think, and I'm just awfully pleased with myself. I will say no more. They'll have to buy the book to find out what happens!'"