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The Gates of Hell: A Mystery of Alexander the Great Hardcover – July, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 334 B.C., Alexander the Great's march toward world conquest halts before the formidable battlements of Halicarnassus in the third installment of British author Doherty's riveting historical series featuring the sleuthing of Telamon the physician. Scholars race to decipher the enigmatic Pythian Manuscript, which holds the secrets of a fatal weakness in the city's defenses, as well as the location of a fabulous treasure, while spies haunt the Macedonians' camp and counter-spies lurk within the walled fortress. The body of the scribe Pamenes is found on the pavement below his locked room, the so-called ghost-chamber (whose floorboards creak like a ship's rigging when walked upon), and Telamon must decide if his death is accident or murder. Soon other more obvious murders occur, including another body found strangled in the ghost-chamber (even the mysterious death of the villa's cat!). Amid the battles and siege of the city, crucifixion of captured spies and dispatching of soldiers whose wounds cannot be cured, the physician keeps to his investigations. "I cannot explain the deaths of thousands. I can only concentrate on the task in hand. It keeps me sane." Telamon, who wasn't quite a dominant element in the previous novels (The House of Death and The Godless Man), comes to full literary life in these pages, as the prolific Doherty moves masterfully from a terrifically atmospheric prologue through the fiery fall of Halicarnassus. As usual with this assured writer, the solution to the crimes is extremely satisfying.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Doherty, noted master of the medieval mystery, reaches further back in time to continue his intriguing series of novels revolving around the military exploits of Alexander the Great and the behind-the-scenes adventures of Telamon, his boyhood friend and personal physician. When Alexander's determination to invade and conquer Halicarnassus, a city inextricably linked to his infamous father, is threatened by an unsettling series of murders within his own inner circle, Telamon must use his considerable powers of detection in order to uncover a treasonous plot linked to the legendary Pythian manuscript. The manuscript, a cipher purported to reveal both the hidden stronghold secreting a great treasure and a strategically crucial weakness within the fortified walls of the city, holds the ultimate key to the treachery plaguing the Macedonian ranks. Another intelligent whodunit steeped in both suspense and martial history. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Doherty, P. C.
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st Carroll & Graf Ed edition (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786711574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786711574
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,090,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on September 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In this, the third of his series with Alexander the Great as his featured subject, PaulDoherty appears to have grasped the atmosphere, the spirit of the times, and the aura of royal intrigue of 334 BC.
Alexander has now marched to the outskirts of Halicarnassus, the most formidable fortress city on the Persian-held coast. Alexander has already met--and routed--the forces of King Darius in an earlier battle but he has not defeated the Persians, yet. This city appears to be the thorn in his side (after all, he'd already solved the Gordian Knot puzzle!). Enter Doherty to make this scene his own in "The Gates of Hell."
This is a historical mystery and the premise that you have to have a dead (or missing) body arises early and Alexander's personal sleuths Telamon the physician and his lovely and willing (but, so far, not in THAT way) assistant Cassandra must pit their skills and brains against yet another dangerous murderer. As readers of the previous two in the series know, Telamon is a companion of Alexander's from his childhood, as well as his personal and trusted physician.
Again (for Doherty), it's another "locked room" death and, once again, the author solves the unsolvable.At the base of all this intrigue is the Pythian Manuscript, believed to hold the secret
of capturing Halicarnassus (among other things). To decipher would be the triumph of the time, or so one is told. It is written in such a secret code that, so far, the top cryptologists have been unable to get anywhere.
Alas, the first body is that of young Pamenes, who's found dead in his locked room and Telamon begins his work. Of course, it is not long before other murders are committed, a plethora of "clues" is presented, and the solution seems impossible.
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Format: Hardcover
It is 334 B.C., and Memnon of Rhodes, a mercenary, has been appointed Governor of Lower Asia by King Darius of Persia. Memnon's mission is to prevent Alexander the Great of Macedon from taking the important Persian city of Halicarnassus as easily as he has taken other Persian cities in his southward march through Asia Minor. With vivid sense imagery and a keen eye for detail, Doherty brings color and drama to the maneuvering by both sides as they get ready for the siege of Halicarnassus, a city of strategic importance, which overlooks the Aegean and the Greek islands.

Using primary sources for much of his research, Doherty recreates the story of this ferocious and bloody battle. Ignoring the lofty, epic rhetoric of classic battles, he chooses instead a conversational tone, creating a sense of urgency and rapid movement in the narrative which matches the speed and drama of the action. His research, however serious it might be, is fully integrated into an exciting story, not imposed upon it, and gives a sense of harsh reality to events. His characters on both sides are memorable despite their large number, and his stunning descriptions of costume, customs, weaponry, and the frenzy of battle keep the reader almost breathless with anticipation.

While the battle rages, both sides try to decipher a mysterious manuscript by Pythias, the architect of the walls around Halicarnassus, in which he supposedly reveals a secret weakness in the walls and the location of a treasure. Scribes and cryptographers work non-stop, the breaking of the code providing an underlying motive for a series of murders which take place within the battle drama.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As usual Doherty blends interesting characters, a historical event, and an intriguing premise into a very enjoyable story. My only criticism is the use of the English alphabet instead of the Greek while attempting to crack the code. Fans of this genre can handle a matrix of Greek letters.
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Format: Hardcover
It is 334 B.C., and Memnon of Rhodes, a mercenary, has been appointed Governor of Lower Asia by King Darius of Persia. Memnon's mission is to prevent Alexander the Great of Macedon from taking the important Persian city of Halicarnassus as easily as he has taken other Persian cities in his southward march through Asia Minor. With vivid sense imagery and a keen eye for detail, Doherty brings color and drama to the maneuvering by both sides as they get ready for the siege of Halicarnassus, a city of strategic importance, which overlooks the Aegean and the Greek islands.
Using primary sources for much of his research, Doherty recreates the story of this ferocious and bloody battle. Ignoring the lofty, epic rhetoric of classic battles, he chooses instead a conversational tone, creating a sense of urgency and rapid movement in the narrative which matches the speed and drama of the action. His research, however serious it might be, is fully integrated into an exciting story, not imposed upon it, and gives a sense of harsh reality to events. His characters on both sides are memorable despite their large number, and his stunning descriptions of costume, customs, weaponry, and the frenzy of battle keep the reader almost breathless with anticipation.
While the battle rages, both sides try to decipher a mysterious manuscript by Pythias, the architect of the walls around Halicarnassus, in which he supposedly reveals a secret weakness in the walls and the location of a treasure. Scribes and cryptographers work non-stop, the breaking of the code providing an underlying motive for a series of murders which take place within the battle drama.
Read more ›
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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