IT’s a mixture of classical history and classic fiction in Meltham author Tim Taylor’s debut published fictional novel.

Tim, the chair of Holmfirth Writers’ Group, has written ‘Zeus of Ithome’ about a fictional slave’s struggle during the Messenian revolt against the Spartans in Greece during the fourth century BC.

Seventeen-year-old Diocles, has known no other life but servitude.

After an encounter with Spartan assassins, he is forced to flee, leaving behind his family and his sweetheart.

On Mount Ithome — the ancient sanctuary of the Messenians which is near modern day Kalamata — he meets an old rebel who remembers the Messenians’ proud history before they were enslaved by the Spartans centuries ago.

Tim’s classical background stems back to his days at Oxford University where he read Classics before earning a PhD in philosophy at Birkbeck College, London.

The novel may be steeped in classical history — indeed some of the characters are real historic figures — but essentially it’s an adventure story, dad-of-one Tim says.

Tim, 54, said: “It’s intended to be entirely accessible.

“I hope people will learn some history from it, but you don’t need to know much beforehand.”

While most people have heard of the Ancient Greeks and many have heard of the Spartans, far fewer have heard of the Messenians, who inhabited the south-west corner of mainland Greece between the ninth and second centuries BC.

Tim said: “It struck me that the Messenians had a story which needed to be told. I think they’re a forgotten people and they have quite an interesting history of their own.”

Tim, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, moved to Meltham in 2001. He quit the civil service in 2011 to focus on writing while teaching ethics at Leeds University and working in student support at Huddersfield University.

As well as fiction, Tim writes poetry, which he performs on local radio and at open mic nights — especially at Cellar 88 in Holmfirth where he also plays guitar.

Zeus of Ithome, published by Crooked Cat, is available to download (£1.99) from <a href = ''></a> or in paperback from