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Walled Orchard

Walled Orchard

by Tom Holt

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Poor comic dramatist Eupolis has promised the god Dionysus that he'll look after his arch-rival and fellow soldier, the playwright Aristophanes. As they embark on the invasion of Sicily, the Peloponnesian War turns into a ``fever-stricken slaughterhouse''; upon returning to his native Athens, Eupolis is falsely accused of treason and blasphemy. The Fates are perverse and the gods reckless in this wonderfully down-to-earth re-creation of Greece in the fifth century B.C., a sequel to Goatsong. With irreverent wit and hindsight, Holt takes the classical world off its pedestal, revealing the Greek psyche to be an amalgam of logic and irrationality, passion and superstition, and fear. Eupolis, sane and cynical, consults with Socrates; bickers with his wife, Phaedra; and plans his own legal defense while a vulnerable, corrupt democracy ineluctably slides toward oligarchy. In this dark ``autobiography,'' readers are reminded that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. (June)
Library Journal
In this second volume of the ``Walled Orchard'' series, Eupolis, Athenian comic playwright and rival of Aristophanes, continues relating the story he began in Goatsong ( LJ 2/1/90). Joining the ill-fated expedition to Sicily, Eupolis is one of the few combatants to escape from the walled orchard where the troops have taken refuge. Once back in Athens, he is accused of toppling statues of Hermes before the army sailed and is tried for treason. After his acquittal, he writes his final play, The Demes , a satirical look at Athens and its problems. As in Goatsong , the narrator's tone is conversational, with self-deprecating humor. His description conveys impressions of fighting and flight in Sicily and of being on trial in 5th century Athens. Readers interested in historical fiction as related by a minor Athenian poet will find this version amusing and interesting as well as thought-provoking. Recommended.-- Ellen Kaye Stoppel, Drake Univ. Law Lib., Des Moines

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Gardners Books
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Meet the Author

Tom Holt is the acclaimed author of a bestselling series of comic fantasy and historical novels. He lives in Chard, Somerset.

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