||27th November 2012
Against a background of fear and torture under a military dictatorship in Greece , Max and Nina Hammett struggle to preserve a marriage that has become fraught with jealousy and despair.
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Dying Phoenix is set against a background of fear and torture, under a military dictatorship in Greece. Tumultous couple Max and Nina Hammett struggle to preserve a marriage that has become fraught with jealousy and despair. In April 1967, a totally unexpected military coup throws Greece into turmoil. People vanish amid terrified rumours of torture and murder. As these events unravel, so does Nina and Max's marriage. Nina doesn't trust Max, and leaves him in a jealous rage. But the truth of the matter is that Max was trying to help an abused woman escape her tormentor, not taking her to his bed as Nina imagines. Young, flighty Zoe's angst puts Max in terrible danger from a ruthless murderer. At the same time, he must also try to find Nina, who has disappeared into the shadowy depths of Athens. He knows that her wilful nature, along with her refusal to cater to the military, could get her killed. Hearing that she is in danger, he sets off on a journey across Greece to find her and to escape his own past. Dying Phoenix is a thrilling historical romance that covers an interesting, little-known period of modern Greek history, and lends an insight into ordinary Greek lives. The book will appeal to fans of literary fiction, sagas and romantic suspense - as well as fans of Loretta's earlier novels, The Crimson Bed, Middle Watch and The Long Shadow.
A new compelling Greek Tale by one of my favourite authors
Dying Phoenix is its own story, but in its pages, the reader gets to know the child of Andrew Cassimatis and his young Greek lover, Anna, from Proctor’s book The Long Shadow. As I dearly loved The Long Shadow, I was thrilled to see Andrew again and to meet his tempestuous, mesmerizing, passionate daughter, Nina. Nina will capture your heart instantly.
Nina has grown up in England, though she was born in Greece: she's married to the deeply flawed yet somehow loveable Englishman, Max Hammitt, so she is a child of two worlds, just like her father. As she says, “My mother’s Greek warrior blood stirs in me.” It is, perhaps, this warrior blood that sends her over to Greece during a dangerous time of political uproar and upheaval.
When the book opens, Max and Nina are separated, due to casual infidelity on Max’s part. Needless to say, Nina is not the type of woman to easily forgive such a betrayal.
It just so happens that Max is in Greece at the same time as Nina, though they aren’t together. He gets caught up trying to rescue a young girl from her brutal pimp—an act of kindness that causes him much harm later in unforeseen ways, leaving me feeling very sorry for him.
Set in the tumultuous political events of the nineteen-sixties, Nina and Max are swept up in terrible circumstances. They are exposed to, and endure, much, as do many others.
Dying Phoenix is lyrical and immediate. It is both beautiful and ugly. It will seize you and place you into those ancient towns, the dusty streets, nightmarish prisons, the riots and their repercussions. The dialog is especially well done: natural and flowing, spiced with Greek phrases, it gives an enticing flavor of native conversation.
Max, Nina, and Andrew are wonderful characters, but there’s also an unforgettable supporting cast—finely-drawn, idealistic resistance fighters, older, jaded, yet surprisingly caring friends, innocents caught up in savage situations. Dying Phoenix alternates between beauty and brutality, never shying away from reality or falling into trite euphemism.
All these things left me feeling I was in the hands of a master author. I read Dying Phoenix with great enjoyment, and at times sadness, punctuated with shock. Though I’m an American reader, and a bit too young to know much about this period in Greek politics, I was utterly absorbed by the story, never lost or confused. A captivating follow up to The Long Shadow, Dying Phoenix is a masterful creation, deserving of high accolades.
Very highly recommended!
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