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In "Over the Wine-Dark Sea "and "The Gryphon's Skull," H. N. Turteltaub brought to life the teeming world of maritime Greece, in the unsettled years following the death of Alexander the Great. Now Menedemos and Sostratos, those dauntless capitalists of the third century B.C., have set sail again--this time to Phoenicia. There Menedemos will spend the summer trading, while his cousin Sostratos travels inland to the little-known country of Ioudaia, with its strange people and their even stranger religious obsessions. In theory, Sostratos is going in search of cheap balsam, a perfume much in demand in the Mediterranean world. In truth, scholarly Sostratos just wants to get a good look at a part of the world unknown to most Hellenes. And the last thing he wants is to have to take along a bunch of sailors from the "Aphrodite "as his bodyguards. But Menedemos insists. He knows that bandits on land are as dangerous as pirates at sea, and he has no faith in Sostratos' ability to dodge them. Meanwhile, it turns out that the prime hams and smoked eels they picked up en route are unsalable to Ioudaians. (Who knew?) And worst of all, Sostratos' new brother-in-law has managed to talk their fathers into loading the "Aphrodite "with hundreds of amphorae of his best olive oil--when they're trading in a region that has no shortage of it. It's a hard day's work, hustling for an honest drachma.