Series: The Ancient Greek Mysteries
Author: Saviour Pirotta
Illustrator: Freya Hartas
Most Suitable For: KS2
The Ancient Greek Mysteries make up a fun and action-packed series of stories that are perfect for introducing readers in KS2 to the topic of Ancient Greece. The series follows the adventures of a scribe called Nico and his friend Thrax, who is a slave, as they work together to solve mysteries, rescue missing people, recover lost objects and thwart villains.
The books can be enjoyed as reading for pleasure but they are also absolutely packed with details about daily life in Ancient Greek times, including food, clothing and jobs. Each story opens up conversations about wider issues like the topic of slavery and attitudes towards class status and gender.
This series adds a new and welcome dimension to the bank of stories used in schools for the Ancient Greeks topic, with a focus on everyday life rather than mythology. The plotlines are exciting and full of twists and turns, and young readers are likely to be so caught up in the dramatic adventures that they won’t realise just how many interesting historical details they have taken in along the way. A glossary at the end of the book helpfully explains the new vocabulary, too.
The series currently contains four stories, with the fourth book Shadow of the Centaurs newly published this week (5th October 2018). The books do follow each other in sequence but would also work as standalone stories. Each story is brilliantly brought to life with illustrations by Freya Hartas, who perfectly captures the balance of mystery and fun.
Book 1: Mark of the Cyclops
Young scribe Nico and his new friend Thrax work for Master Ariston, a travelling singer and poet in Ancient Greece. When the pair attend a wedding with their master, a mystery begins to unfold after somebody smashes a valuable wedding vase.
Nico and Thrax love to figure things out and when a household slave called Gaia is blamed for the breakage, the pair begin to suspect there is more at play. On an exciting mission to discover the truth, Nico and Thrax discover a trail of vases all marked with the face of a cyclops. It is up to the two friends to uncover the truth about what the mark of the cyclops means and to save Gaia by proving her innocence.
An exciting and enjoyable mystery steeped in historical details.
Book 2: Secret of the Oracle
Nico and Thrax are back for their second Ancient Greek adventure. This time the pair accompany their master to Delphi on a quest to find a great oracle and seek her guidance.
Before long the pair are caught up in another mystery when a farmer’s daughter goes missing and there is something untoward about the newly arrived priest at the temple.
In an exciting race-against-time adventure, it is once again up to the boys to put together the different pieces of the puzzle and find the missing girl before it is too late.
Book 3: Pirates of Poseidon
In Pirates of Poseidon, the two friends Nico and Thrax escape with their master to the island of Aegina after a performance of Master Ariston’s play does not go to plan.
Wherever Nico and Thrax go, danger seems to follow and very soon the pair become involved n tracking down a valuable ring that has been stolen. The ring is linked to a curse and it soon becomes clear that somebody else is seeking it too; a terrifying masked pirate is also on the trail of the ring.
Full of twists and turns, this mystery will keep readers guessing until the end.
Book 4: Shadow of the Centaurs
Back at home in Athens, Nico and Thrax are busy looking forward to Anthesteria, a spooky festival and feast that takes place once a year.
True to style, the boys find something suspicious to investigate when an assassination plot begins to come to light, putting the life of the General of Athens in grave danger.
When Nico and Thrax come face to face with the Secret Society of Centaurs led by the mysterious Centaur Alpha, they need to use all of their cunning as well as a little help from the philosopher Socrates in order to save the day.
Also featured on: Ancient Greece Topic Booklist
Thank you to the publisher for kindly sending me copies of these books.