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Antigone's Wake: A Novel of Imperial Athens [Paperback]

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Item description for Antigone's Wake: A Novel of Imperial Athens by Nicholas Nicastro...

Athens, 440 BC. Under Pericles, the democracy is building its imperial legacy in blood, stone, and ballots. Ruling the stage, Sophocles premieres the tragedy of Antigone, earning renown that propels him to an honorary generalship. But the honor turns serious when war breaks out with the powerful island of Samos. Can Sophocles the playwright now direct real soldiers in a war that will decide the fate of Athens sea empire?

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2007
Publisher   Bella Rosa Books
ISBN  1933523263  
ISBN13  9781933523262  

Availability  81 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 03:29.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Nicholas Nicastro

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NICHOLAS NICASTRO PhD has taught history, anthropology, and psychology at Cornell University and Hobart-William Smith Colleges. He has written five novels as well as short fiction, travel and science articles for "The New York Times, The ""New York"" Observer, Film Comment, "and "The International Herald Tribune, " "Archaeology," and more. He now lives in northern California.

Nicholas Nicastro currently resides in Ithaca, in the state of New York.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > War

Reviews - What do customers think about Antigone's Wake: A Novel of Imperial Athens?

The voyage on Antigone  Aug 17, 2008
This is a refreshing, remarkable work of historical fiction. Nicholas Nicastro does a clever job of fabricating some "missing years" in the life of the Greek playwrite Sophocles. While all the details of the story are courtesy of Nicastro's vivid imagination, the gist of the plot is historically accurate as it centers around Athens' siege of its ally Samos after the latter had had enough with Athenian hegemony in the Mediterranean basin.

The story sees Sophocles become a military commander. This would be an absurd notion these days, but was quite commonplace back in the Golden Age of Athens. Sophocles not only participates in the siege, but conducts himself honorably, all the while trying his best to nobly protect his only son, Iophon.

The best historical novels transport the reader back in time to the period in question. That's why the present book can be counted as one of the best in its class. It is fascinating to see the poet interact with other big-time historical figures of the age, including the great Pericles, the mysterious Aspasia, his rival Euripides and the infamous Cleon. As I read the book, I could see the historical events transpire precisely as Nicastro narrated them.

Much like Shakespeare in Love (Miramax Collector's Series), Nicastro dabbled with the idea of contemplating the impetus for an artist's inspiration in his craft. It's trenchant to see how Sophocles' daughter, Photia, transform into a sort of Antigone in her own way.

This book is HIGHLY recommended to persons who have a deep interest in classical history - especially Greek history. For background / pre-requisite reading on the present book I would recommend The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles: Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone, Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy and History of the Peloponnesian War, The. For those who enjoy the present book, I would urge you to give The Isle of Stone: A Novel of Ancient Sparta a read. It is also by Nicastro and it recounts the Spartans' being stranded on the island of Sphacteria during the Peloponnesian war.
Antigone's Wake  Jan 12, 2008
Frothy but interesting and sometimes thought-provoking "tour" of Imperial Greek theatre transposed onto a a warfare canvass. With the siege of a rebellious Ionian city as the backdrop, the protagonist is a famous playwright and an "accidental hero-warrior" whose journey through introspective experience with the martial world is in constant tension with his intellectual sensitivities dramatized by personal conflicts with loyalty to the Athenian leader, dislike--and fear--of a rough but effective general, a rebelious son and the deliciously dedicated bitchiness of his once-and still-but-secretely loving wife who saves him, constantly, from pretentiousness but denies him the affection, companionship and self-validation for which he really searches in this interesting, often funny, and compellingly thought-provoking read. Recommended, provided one isn't looking for the challenge and passion of a serious, demanding war-story such as Nicastro's outstanding, "Isle of Stone."
The More Things Change...  Nov 4, 2007
I recommend this entertaining tale with gusto-- a page-turner with an edifying edge. Nicholas Nicastro both transports the reader into the ancient past and highlights aspects of a long dead world to make it relevant to our present. He provocatively exposes the reader to a supposedly enlightened society that uses brutal, inhumane tactics against an enemy in the name of democracy. He also reminds us that the worship of celebrity has existed for millenia.

We watch as Sophocles, aka Dexion, a competitive, revered writer is recruited by his friend Pericles to lead an army, despite his lack of military experience. Is this so different than having B-actors, wide receivers, and billionaires run our government? Whether Dexion rises to the challenge is part of the suspense that keeps the story moving at a good clip. The political machinations of Pericles contrast well with the more personal struggles of Dexion. And, now a trademark of a Nicastro novel, the book is spiced with some enticing sexual dalliances.

For ancient world buffs "Antigone's Wake" is a must; for lovers of good ficion, like myself, take a plunge into a world that Nicastro more than resuscitates.
Sophocles the General  Aug 15, 2007
Few people, including myself, were aware that Sophocles the playwright also served as a general in the Athenian army during the revolt of Samos. But Greece was a democracy and then, as now, name recognition could get you elected to whatever office you wanted, even if you didn't want it, and felt you were not qualified. This is not to say that the playwright did not deserve a general's cape; nor that he was not skilled at the task, and capable of descisive action, not the least of which caused him to be declared a hero after his trickery resulted in the dispatch of the far superior Simian fleet at the batle of Tragia.

In "Antigone's Wake" author Nicholas Nicastro recounts many such incidents of Sophocoles's wit and bravery, yet weaves a subtext that makes us understand the effect of the war on the playwright's life, art, and family. With degrees in English, filmmaking, archaeology, and psychology, Nicastro is not only skilled at researching his subjects, but also capable of recreating their thoughts and emotions, while placing them in a believable setting. "Antigone's Wake" is a well-written book that holds the reader's interest from the beginning to the end. I do not hesitate to recommend it highly.
In view of a Playwrite and General  May 18, 2007
I thought that "Antigone's Wake" was not only a serious and incisive look into the life of an acknowledged Greek playwright and not as well known, his military career as a general.
In manner of well crafted fiction, he bases the story on an abundance of historical fact.
It is written, in same the style and wit with which Nicastro has become known.
I was absorbed by and empathized with the character.

Salvatore Novitski


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