As a noted historian and classicist, he is better qualified than most to tackle the subject: he weaves historical events — what few are known from c. 600 B.C. Mytilene — seamlessly together with knowledge of the wider Greek world and fictional reconstruction, avoiding the trap of making too much of individual pieces of information whose survival must, after all, have been largely fortuitous. (A chronology and a family tree at the end of the volume clearly distinguish fictional characters and events from historical ones. They are also helpful for following the plot, since Green avoids anachronistic exposition of background material.) But it is not just attention to detail and the obvious grasp of the history which make The Laughter of Aphrodite so impressive: it is also compelling as a novel and, most importantly, the central character is convincing — when I read about Sappho now, it will be Green's Sappho who comes to mind.