When Philocles the playwright discovers a murdered man outside his front door in Athens mere days before his play is performed at the Dionysia festival, he has no idea quite how far his investigations will take him...
443 BC, and, after decades of war with Persia, peace has finally come to Athens. The city is being rebuilt, and commerce and culture are flourishing.
Aspiring playwright Philocles has come home to find a man with his throat cut slumped against his front gate. Is it just a robbery gone wrong? But, if so, why didn't the thieves take the dead man's valuables? With the play that could make his name just days away, he must find out who this man is, why he has been murdered - and why the corpse was left in his doorway.
But Philocles soon realises he has been caught up in something far bigger, and there are those who don't want him looking any further . . .
J M Alvey studied Classics at Oxford in the 1980s. As an undergraduate, notable achievements in startling tutors included citing the comedic principles of Benny Hill in a paper on Aristophanes, and using military war-gaming rules to analyse and explain apparent contradictions in historic accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae. Crime fiction was always relaxation reading and that love of mysteries and thrillers continued through a subsequent, varied career, alongside an abiding fascination with history and the ancient world.