Sunday, November 20, 2011

"The Ionia Sanction"

Gary Corby is a novelist and former systems programmer at Microsoft. He lives in Australia with his wife and two daughters. His debut novel is The Pericles Commission.

Corby applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Ionia Sanction, and reported the following: 
The Ionia Sanction is the story of Nicolaos, the only investigating agent in classical Athens, as he searches for stolen information that threatens the safety of Athens. One man has already died trying to protect the secret, another died trying to recover it. Now it's up to Nico to hunt it down, wherever it might be. His quest takes him out of Athens to Ionia, a province ruled by the Persian Empire, where he could be executed as a spy at any moment.

Page 69 sees Nicolaos on a trireme, having left Athens on his way to the famed city of Ephesus. You might know Ephesus from the Bible (think Paul's Epistles to the Ephesians) but Ephesus was a major trading port, stretching far back into pre-history. It was also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Temple of Artemis, which Nico will visit when he arrives.

The trireme Nico travels in, on page 69, is no less than Salaminia, a very famous warship. Salaminia was the Air Force One of the ancient world.
The Trierarch stepped easily around or over the various things attached to the deck, and said, "Good morning. I believe our destination is Ephesus. Correct?"

It was all I could do to nod and say, "Yes please," as if it were normal for a young man to be the sole purpose of the most prestigious ship in the most prestigious navy.

The Trierarch nodded back. "The helmsman tells me it should be a fast passage, the weather will be fair. Sit down and relax." He looked down at Asia and added, "And try to keep your slave under control."
Asia's not a continent! In those days it was a girl's name. (And in fact our continent Asia is named for an ancient Greek nymph). This particular Asia looks like trouble on a ship full of men:
My woman-child slave was dressed in a modest chiton of ankle length, but not even the usual extra folds could prevent her curves pressing out the material in interesting places, and nothing could hide her young red lips and those wide, round, dark eyes. It made me glad of the twenty soldiers on board—archers and spearmen—except they too were staring at Asia. The two chiefs of the rowers, one on each side, both shouted at the men to pay attention to their work. I silently prayed to Poseidon for a quick trip.
So that's page 69! You'll be pleased to hear they make it to Ephesus without too many mutinies, but whether they'll succeed in their mission and escape with their lives is anyone's guess.
Learn more about the book and author at Gary Corby's blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Ionia Sanction.

Writers Read: Gary Corby.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue