Soon after politician and chariot horse breeder Antyllus buys the slave Phillip from the quarry, it becomes clear that his new purchase is not just any slave. Phillip possesses a remarkable level of pride for his station; but more than that, he has a death wish. He nearly manages to achieve that goal when Antyllus purchases him just in time to prevent a horrifying end. Antyllus soon learns just how unusual Phillip is. For one thing, despite his insolence and liberal sarcasm, Phillip has apparently been trained in rhetoric and deportment. For another, his ability to handle horses rivals that of anyone Antyllus has ever met.
Antyllus hopes for an Olympic victory with the team of horses he bred, but he needs a skilled driver to give him the best chance. He teaches Phillip to drive them and assist in training sessions, and Phillip learns so quickly that he soon surpasses Antyllus in skill. Antyllus decides that he has found his Olympic charioteer, but when Phillip surprisingly refuses, the mystery of the slave's background is finally solved.
The Olympic Charioteer transported me back to ancient Greece and plunged me into a world of politics and intrigue. Author Helena P. Schrader deftly paints a picture of social and political life in Tegea and Sparta of the times, which I found fascinating. Schrader’s story is fictional, but she obviously has an intense level of knowledge of the time period, which brings the story to life in a very authentic way. She explores in this story the conflicts between these two city-states--a conflict that eventually led to the formation of the Peloponnesian League through a series of non-aggression pacts.
I found Helena P. Schrader’s The Olympic Charioteer to be a brilliant tapestry of Ancient Greece, with robust, lifelike characters and scenery. This story has a little something for everyone: it is a realistic historical fiction for those readers, with a sweet romance for those fans. There is even mystery, action and drama. It was a brilliant and fascinating read that I truly enjoyed. This book retails for $22.95 and is 416 pages. It is available at Amazonand other online retailers.