Glorious Exploits

Glorious Exploits


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Lindsay's Review 

If Solzhenitsyn, Bukowski and Thucydides met in a bar and wrote an account of the greatest tragedy in the Peloponnesian War - the slow death of the Athenian captives after the battle for Syracuse - it would read something like this book. Glorious Exploits is narrated from the perspective of the Syracusan characters, two unemployed potters, who decide to form some of the starving prisoners into an acting troop to perform the last of Euripides’ plays.

This book encapsulates the ancient Greek notion of pathos as felt through the doomed production and the suffering of the lead characters themselves. It carries the reader along an emotional wave with a raw style that marks the difference between pretensions of high literature and gritty realism. Both hilarious and moving, the book is a real romp through the joys, suffering and dreams of the ancient Greek world. It takes you into the past in an inventive and sensual manner. Not a book to be forgotten.

LitHub Interview
Read an interview with Ferdia Lennon on the book.

Publishers Review

An exhilarating and fiercely original story of brotherhood, war and art, set in ancient Sicily

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

It's 412 BC, and Athens' invasion of Sicily has failed catastrophically. Thousands of Athenian soldiers are held captive in the quarries of Syracuse, starving, dejected and hanging on by the slimmest of threads.

Lampo and Gelon are local potters, young men with no work and barely two obols to rub together. With not much to fill their time, they take to visiting the nearby quarry, where they discover prisoners who will, in desperation, recite lines from the plays of Euripides in return for scraps of bread and a scattering of olives.

And so an idea is born- the men will put on Medea in the quarry. A proper performance to be sung of down the ages. Because after all, you can hate the Athenians for invading your territory, but still love their poetry.

But as the performance draws near and the audacity of their enterprise dawns on them, it becomes difficult to distinguish between enemies and friends. And Lampo, whose ambitions have never stretched beyond having enough coin for the next jug of wine, finds his aspirations elevated, his heart entangled and his courage tested in ways he could never have imagined.

Glorious Exploits is an exhilarating and fiercely original story of brotherhood, war and art; and - in the face of the Gods' apparent indifference - of daring to dream of something bigger than ourselves.