Glorious Exploits by Ferdia Lennon
It is only January and I know I've just read one of my books of the year, of my life. So funny, (like laugh out loud and recite bits to your partner funny) and original and totally unexpected. Who knew I needed a load of Athenians and a man with a limp called Lampo? I did and you do too. Trust me when I tell you this is bloody brilliant. I'm smiling as I type.
From the back
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 ...