Glorious Exploits

Ferdia Lennon

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Penguin Books Ltd
18 January 2024
ISBN: 9780241617649
Hardback
288 pages

From the publisher

An exhilarating, fiercely original story of brotherhood, war and art, and of daring to dream of something bigger than ourselves.

'Bold and totally unexpected, I loved this book' Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain

'A very special, very clever, very entertaining novel' Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha

***

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. When they take to visiting the nearby quarry, they discover prisoners who will, in desperation, recite lines from the plays of Euripides 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 audacity of their enterprise dawns on them, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between enemies and friends. As the performance draws near, the men will find their courage tested in ways they could never have imagined ...

***

'Madly ambitious, cathartic like all great tragedy, but shockingly funny too, Ferdia Lennon's outstandingly original début is just glorious' Emma Donoghue, author of Room