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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Cumming, Charles: The Spanish Game

  Amazon  

3 stars

Charles Cumming's The Spanish Game picks up Alec Milius's story six years after the events covered in A Spy By Nature. Since his career as a spy ended in failure, Alec has been living in exile, feeling guilty about what he's done--though I'm honestly not sure why he feels so guilty about it--and worrying that it might come back to haunt him. When the book opens he's in Madrid, still living as if he's on the job, taking precautions against tails and so on, but it's not clear initially whether he's being sensible or paranoid. I wanted very much to like this book--the disappointed reader's lament--but I'm afraid I didn't. At least not enough. There are some things I do like: Alex's character, the logistics of his life in exile, the fact that we can't always know whether his concerns are reasonable. But like Cumming's first Milius novel, there's simply too much talk in this one, and I have less patience for it the second time around. This time it's about Basque separatism and the Iraq War and England's relationship with the U.S., and there's a convoluted plot that I gave up caring about early on. There are twists at the end, but by that time I was too lost to appreciate them. Cumming is talented and, his books suggest, very smart, and I'm sure his intricate plot and the political discussion will appeal to some, but not, I'm afraid, to me.

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