Wallowing in one inconvenience after another, Aristophanes is unaware that the Spartan and Athenian generals have unleashed Laet, the spirit of foolishness and bad decisions, to inspire chaos and war-mongering in Athens. To counteract Laet's influence, Athena sends Bremusa, an Amazon warrior, and Metris, an endearingly airheaded nymph (their first choice was her mother Metricia, but she grew tired of all the fighting and changed back into a river).
Dashing between fantastical scenes of moody and meddlesome gods, ever-applicable political debates in the senate, backstage scrambling for the play, and glimpses of life in Ancient Greece, Martin Millar delivers another witty and comical romp for readers of all ages.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Millar’s lively comic novel centers on the frantic efforts of Greek playwright Aristophanes to finally earn the respect that eluded him throughout his career. The year is 421 B.C.E., and Aristophanes hopes to wow his rowdy audience and the critics at the annual Dionysian theater festival, by combining his trademark bawdy humor with an underlying serious message about peace. Not only are there the familiar setbacks plaguing the production, which he entitles Peace, but there’s divine intervention, as well. This appears in the form of Laet, a spirit of discord summoned by the Athenians’ archenemies, the Spartans, with the assistance of a priestess called Kleonike. In response, the goddess Athena sends two ambassadors from Mount Olympus to help Aristophanes. The alluring but dim nymph Metris and the Amazon Bremusa are sent to counteract the efforts of Laet. Also stirring the pot is a pesky poet named Luxos, continually harassing Aristophanes for a slot in his production, as a lyricist or preshow performer or both. Millar’s (Lonely Werewolf Girl) plot and characters border on the cartoonish, but he packs the narrative with interesting information about the era and Greek drama. Very short chapters, from the various perspectives of the main characters, keep the novel moving at an appropriately manic pace. Smart escapist reading. (May)