Doing the research for these books takes me to some interesting articles. The way historians and others embark on practical experiments these days is particularly useful – and sometimes hilarious. For example, here’s an article on linen armour, as widely worn in the Ancient Greek world. It was often reinforced with leather, but the cheapest option for the poorest citizen soldiers was linen on its own. How effective was it?
For our first linothorax, we glued together 15 layers of linen to form a one centimeter-thick slab, and then tried to cut out the required shape. Large shears were defeated; bolt cutters failed. The only way we were ultimately able to cut the laminated linen slab was with an electric saw equipped with a blade for cutting metal. At least this confirmed our suspicion that linen armor would have been extremely tough.
So that’s one important question answered. But wait, there’s more…
We also found out that linen stiffened with rabbit glue strikes dogs as an irresistibly tasty rabbit-flavored chew toy, and that our Labrador retriever should not be left alone with our research project.
Oh, the temptation to work that into a story somehow… or maybe Philocles could put it in a play? Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Meantime, do read the whole article.
This article from The Guardian sets out the upcoming autumn for the book trade.
“From Richard Osman’s first crime novel to Caitlin Moran’s new memoir, almost 600 hardbacks are due to be published on 3 September in a “massive bun fight” of new titles, as books delayed over the summer due to Covid-19 finally make it on to shelves.
Autumn is the busiest time of the year in books, with publishers bringing out their biggest titles in the hope of hitting the Christmas jackpot on what has been dubbed “Super Thursday” by the book trade. But this year, the closure of bookshops for more than two months due to the pandemic means that many of the titles held back over the summer are now due to hit shelves this autumn, with a series of what trade magazine the Bookseller called “mini-Super Thursdays” lining up across September and October.”
So all the shelf space and promotion in bookshops will go to big names between now and Xmas as desperate retailers chase what they hope will be guaranteed sales – and who can blame them in these circumstances?
Let’s be thankful for ebooks in the meantime, and hope for sales that see the paperbacks available at the earliest opportunity. If you’ve enjoyed the first two books, tell your friends, and maybe leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads? Every recommendation helps, and is very much appreciated, by me and every other author.
I’ve been saying for a while now that there’ll be news about a third book in this series soon. Well, here is that long-promised update, and thank you for your patience in the meantime.
So what’s been going on? Well, last year, and before Scorpions in Corinth was even published, Orion Books decided they had no further interest in this series. I’ll spare you the dispiriting details, and will simply say this had nothing to do with me or the actual books. As you’ll recall, readers and reviewers thoroughly enjoyed them!
Not so very long ago, that would have been that. However, new formats and new technology are offering new possibilities for readers and writers alike. Canelo is a publishing house that’s been making the most of these opportunities since 2015, offering an array of excellent fiction. So I am delighted to tell you they will be reissuing Shadows of Athens and Scorpions in Corinth on 24th September 2020. A new novel in this series, Justice for Athena, will follow on 15th October 2020.
These will be ebooks only for the moment. Canelo started with a digital-only list, and while they have been moving into print editions for selected titles, that programme, like so much else, has been affected by the commercial impact of the pandemic. Caution is the current watchword across the publishing industry until the situation becomes less volatile. Once that happens, we can all hope to see these novels as paperbacks on book shop shelves.
With regard to audiobooks, conversations are ongoing, and I’ll share any news on that format as and when I have it.
For the moment, let’s admire these dramatic new covers from Canelo. Tell your friends this is the ideal time to catch up with Philocles’ investigations before he finds himself hunting another killer…
I came across this image of a statue that’s apparently known as ‘The ‘sullen’ kore’ (maiden). Even women made of stone can’t escape being told they should smile…
Since this piece is currently in the Acropolis Museum, I’ve dug out my ancient souvenir guide from a visit in 1986, to see if she was in there. She is indeed pictured, and she’s listed as the ‘The kore of Euthydikos’ from the dedication on the base of what was then presented as the feet of the same statue. Now, I have no idea if some later analysis has decided those feet don’t actually belong to the rest of this piece, prompting a name change. It’s not as if I’ll be travelling to Athens any time soon to be able to check.
Either way, the statue’s current name does come weighted with a lot of assumptions and implications. It’s definitely a reminder of just how much history is in the eye of the beholder.
Why am I looking at statues from the Acropolis? Come to that, why has it been so long since I last posted in this blog? Well, there’ll be more news coming to to explain all that very soon…