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An original and entertaining debut novel that presents a new and witty historical tragicomedy set at the end of the Peloponnesian War, 412 BC.

- best book club reads - 





Den scores




288 pages

‘Glorious Exploits’ is an original and entertaining debut novel by the Irish author, Ferdia Lennon, that presents a new and witty historical tragicomedy set at the end of the Peloponnesian War, 412 BC. But you don’t have to be a classicist to enjoy this novel.

Set on the island of Sicily, the story opens with two local potters Lampo and Gelon of Syracuse, who are visiting the local quarry which is holding thousands of Athenian soldiers captive.

"So Gelon says to me, ‘Let’s go down and feed the Athenians. The weather’s perfect for feeding Athenians."

From the start the reader is drawn in by the comic and cheeky Irish vernacular which sets the tone for the novel and enables compassion and kindness in the deadly dark quarry that is holding the island’s enemy.

With no work on the horizon for the local potters, the two young men exchange scraps of bread and olives for recitals of lines from the much loved Greek tragedies enjoyed by Athenians and Sicilians alike. Overcome by their poetic delivery, Lampo has a proposition - to put on Medea in the quarry "Full production with chorus, masks and shit", on the basis that you can hate the Athenians but still enjoy their plays. Redefining themselves as unlikely directors Lampo and Gelon quickly set about casting, sourcing funding and commissioning costumes and stage sets. Their enthusiasm elevates their ambition and the plan expands to not just ‘Medea’ but also ‘The Trojan Women’ (in fear that these plays by Euripides might never survive or get the chance to be seen again). As the performance of the play draws closer the lines between friends and foes are blurring testing their moral compasses within their own communities and amongst their enemy who are integral to the production.

There is also love interest for Lampo who falls for a Persian slave girl from another war torn territory. The tragedy of war runs deep. Everyone has a tragic story to tell which makes this novel all the more captivating and a book you want to pass on because it brings hope to humanity.

The Den particularly enjoyed the audiobook which was narrated by the author - a rare opportunity to bring Lennon's own voice to his story.

- for people who love books - 

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