Of Merchants And Heroes
At the end of the third century BC, as Republican Rome's long war with Carthage in Africa draws to a close, a new danger is arising in the east - the ruthless and ambitious King of Macedon, Philip the Fifth, is moving against the independent city-states of Greece and threatening Rome itself.
Against this background, Marcus, a young Roman, embarks on a sea crossing from Italy to Corfu with his father. Pirates, led by the wild corsair Dikaiarchos, ambush the ship and Marcus's father sacrifices his own life in order to save his son.
Marcus vows to avenge his father's death, setting him on a voyage of spiritual and emotional growth that will forge his character. He becomes the confidant of generals and politicians, and is cast into the midst of rising conflict, travelling among the cities of Greece and Italy during a time of political turmoil and cultural upheaval. It is a journey that will bring him at last to his unexpected destiny.
In the tradition of Mary Renault and Robert Graves, Of Merchants and Heroes is a remarkable, beautifully written novel of love, loss and redemption. It is not only a historical adventure; it explores timeless questions of freedom, right and duty.
UK Publisher: Macmillan
Hardcover 2008; Paperback 2008
US Publisher: Overlook Press / Hardcover 2009
Translation rights: JPLA
Chosen by National Geographic Traveler in 'Books to transport readers'
'A breathtaking trip to the past: moving, thought-provoking, and a literary treat.'
Historical Novels Review
'I had despaired of ever again reading a historical novel that truly fired me - I thought the days of such writing were long gone - but clearly not. This is a delight to read, a finely woven, beautifully plotted masterpiece, and deserves to become one of the classics of historical fiction.'
Manda Scott, best-selling author of the Boudica series
'With its restrained, elegant and poetic tone, Of Merchants & Heroes brings to mind Mary Renault. The ancient world has a new and insightful spokesman in Paul Waters.'
Margaret George, author of The Memoirs of Cleopatra
'This is a rare treat – a truly convincing historical novel. I’ve waited ages for something this good to come along, and this debut instantly brings to mind one name – Mary Renault.'
Sue Baker, Publishing News
'Ancient Greece has claimed more than its fair share of outstanding historical novelists - Naomi Mitchison, Mary Renault, Rosemary Sutcliff, William Golding - and Classicist Paul Waters deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as they. Altogether a most powerful and promising debut.'
Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History, Cambridge University
'A thrilling tale of revenge which grips from the start and doesn’t let go.'
James Delingpole, author and columnist for The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator