Gene Wolfe is the best there is at what he does. End of discussion. This book (impossible to find nowdays) is the sequel to Soldier of the Mist, the story of Latro. The setting is the immediate aftermath of the battle of Marathon, Latro is a soldier of The Great King (Xerxes) who was wounded while the Persians were losing the battle. Latro had the bad luck to be cursed by a Greek Goddess (Demeter?) for breaking the rules of propriety and actually fighting on the grounds of her temple during the fight (see Herodotus, he was appalled by the bad manners of the soldiers involved in the actual event). Latro's curse is that he completely loses his memory every day, but as compensation, he's able to see the Gods as they wander around among the mortals. In order to know what happened to him yesterday, he writes a daily journal of what he did, who he talked to, and in that journal Wolfe manages to bring us the day to day life of Ancient Greece. Wolfe weaves ghosts, Gods, famous poets and warriors and ordinary cowherds throughout, and after 30 pages, you'll believe. Not just 'suspend disbelief', you'll believe. I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend keeping a copy of Herodotus handy, as well as Bullfinch's mythology. You don't have to have references handy, the story doesn't require it, but I like to KNOW who he's talking about when a general or goddess happens to walk by. Never read 'Arete' without reading 'Soldier of the Mist' first, and frankly, 'Mist' is a better book. The ending of 'Arete' can be interpreted to leave an opening for another sequel. But if GW hasn't released it in 10 years, we can't expect one now. We can only wish. These two are THAT good.