The great myths...the wars against the Persians...the Olympic Games...the Oracle at Delphi...the rival city states of Athens and Sparta the world of the ancient Greeks yields a fascinating landscape for fiction.
The “Tapestry of Bronze” novels by Victoria Grossack and Alice Underwood are set in the Bronze Age world of Greek history and myth. Jocasta tells the story of Oedipus from a different point of view; a trilogy of novels about Niobe and her children begins with Children of Tantalus and continues with The Road to Thebes and Arrow of Artemis.
EPICURUS THE SAGE by Messner-Loebs & Keith Offbeat graphic novel spoofs ancient Greek philosophers and myth, featuring 8-year-old Alexander the not-yet-Great.
IN THE SHAPE OF A BOAR by Lawrence Norfolk “An epic achievement...stitching together classical Greek culture and modern barbarism.” (SF Chronicle)
MEMNON by Scott Oden The Greek mercenary Memnon of Rhodes dares to oppose Alexander the Great. By the author of Men of Bronze.
A VICTOR OF SALAMIS by William Stern Davis Classic novel of the Greco-Persian wars.
THE ISLE OF STONE by Nicholas Nicastro A novel about the rivalry between Sparta and Athens, by the author of Empire of Ashes (about Alexander) and Antigone’s Wake (about Sophocles the playwright and general).
OEDIPUS ON THE ROAD by Henry Bauchau “Skillfully reworks the Greek myth of Oedipus, taking an obscure part of the tale...and giving it a new significance.” (NY Times)
PASIPHAE by Peter Huby The queen of Crete, consumed with passion for a white bull, turns for help to the inventor Daedalus. By the author of Carthage.
THE DOUBLE TONGUE by William Golding The Nobel winner’s final novel. Under the tutelage of a Delphic priest, Arieka becomes the Pythia, the voice of the god Apollo.
ANABASIS: A Journey to the Interior by Ellen Gilchrist National Book Award winner Gilchrist tells the story of a girl’s journey from slavery to freedom in the age of Pericles.
THE RISE & FALL OF THE SACRED BAND OF THEBES by G.A. Hauser follows the elite training of a young Theban aristocrat. By the author of In the Shadow of Alexander.
By Jon Edward Martin: THE HEADLONG GOD OF WAR A novel of ancient Greece and the battle of Marathon • IN KITHAIRON’S SHADOW Five men in the tiny city-states of Greece stand between Xerxes of Persia and his plan for conquest. • SHADES OF ARTEMIS Sparta’s most audacious commander embarks on a daring mission to bring Athens to its knees.
300 by Frank Miller Visually stunning graphic novel about the 300 Spartans and the battle of Thermopylae.
SAPPHO’S LEAP by Erica Jong The controversial author of Fear of Flying tells the tale of the poet of Lesbos. Click here to see other novels about Sappho.
ATHENS RISING by William Mott Hippias, the last Tyrant of Athens, is brought down by the lovers Harmodius and Aristogiton, the legendary fathers of Athenian democracy.
RING OF FIRE by Marline Haleff Advancing through the temple hierarchy of the Oracle of Delphi, a priestess learns the use of snakes, herbs, and the terrifying Ring of Fire.
NOVELS OF ANCIENT GREEK SEAFARING by H.N. Turteltaub (aka Harry Turtledove) • The adventures of Sostratos and Menedemos (an ancient Odd Couple) begin in Over the Wine Dark Sea, and continue in The Gryphon’s Skull, The Sacred Land, and Owls to Athens. Of related interest: Turteltaub’s epic novel of Byzantium, Justinian, and his collaboration with Judith Tarr, Household Gods, about a modern woman transported to the age of ancient Rome.
PHANARBAZUS SITS ON THE GROUND WITH THE SPARTAN CAPTAINS by Peter Carnahan An encounter between a Spartan warrior and a Persian ruler leads to revelations about the death of the great general Alcibiades.
MURDER AT THE PANIONIC GAMES by Michael B. Edwards When an athlete is poisoned at the Greek games in 650 B.C., a priest vows to find the killer.
THE ATHENIAN MURDERS by Jose Carlos Somoza A text recounting murder at Plato’s Academy plays tricks with a translator’s mind. CWA Gold Dagger winner.
THE EYE OF CYBELE by Daniel Chavarria Edgar-winner Chavarria ventures to the age of Pericles with a novel that mixes whodunnit, historical epic, & highbrow erotica.
CHAMPION OF THE DEAD by Patrick Hatten When Athens’ finest boxer drops dead during a match with the “Bull of Corinth,” his protégé suspects foul play.
NOVELS OF STEVEN PRESSFIELD • Last of the Amazons tells of Theseus and the Amazon queen Antiope; Gates of Fire recounts the heroic battle of Thermopylae; Tides of War follows the amazing career of Alcibiades; The Virtues of War and The Afghan Campaign are stirring novels of Alexander.
NOVELS OF MARY RENAULT Renault was one of the finest historical novelists of the last century. The King Must Die and its sequel, The Bull From the Sea, tell the mythic tale of Theseus, who mastered the Labyrinth of Crete and became king of Athens. The Last of the Wine takes place during the disastrous war between Athens and Sparta. The Mask of Apollo draws on the world of Greek theater. The Praise Singer tells the tale of the lyric poet Simonides and the early flowering of Greek culture. ••• Renault’s most enduring legacy is her trilogy about Alexander the Great: Fire From Heaven, The Persian Boy, and Funeral Games. Renault also wrote a companion nonfiction work, The Nature of Alexander. ••• Readers fascinated by Renault’s fiction will appreciate two fine biographies: David Sweetman’s Mary Renault, and The Masks of Mary Renault: A Literary Biography by Caroline Zilboorg of Cambridge.