The city-state of Thebes is in rebellion and Alexander must once again bring it under Macedonian control before he can take on his greatest challenge, Darius of Persia. To add to his problems, some important Macedonian guardsmen have been murdered, an unknown but possibly Persian spy lurks in his ranks, and the crown of Thebes legendary hero, Oedipus, has been stolen. To solve these Theben mysteries, Alexander calls upon two trusted Israelite friends, the scribe Simeon and his brilliant sister Miriam. It is Miriam who holds center stage becoming Alexanders principle investigator. In Alexanders multicultural world, an independent free spirited Jewish woman like Miriam might have become the confident of a powerful leader. Most likely, however, she would have been his consort or concubine. Further, her free access throughout Alexanders military camp is problematic, even though the troops view Miriam as more male than female, frequently referring to her male-like body and intelligence.
Greek history is brought to life through references to the plays of Sophocles, Alexanders old tutor, Aristotle, the power of sacred sites and their priestesses, and Alexanders vengeful destruction of Thebes. Olympias, Alexanders mother, also appears. The author focuses on her haughty, scheming side; a more complex representation would present Olympias also as a woman with remarkable leadership ability trying to stay alive in a bloody, turbulent world to ensure the success of her son.
This is the second book in Apostolous mystery series with Miriam as Alexanders detective. The author, the better known P.C. Doherty, has written two other books on Alexander. The books historical note is most welcome.