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Greek Books: Literature-Foreign Writers

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

Last of the Wine by Mary RenaultThe Last of the Wine by Mary Renault is an enjoyable way to get your dose of ancient Greek history as are all of her novels. This book takes place during the last phases of the Peloponnesian wars when Athens is past her Golden Age and in decline. This book is considered a masterpiece of historical fiction. Also well worth reading are The King Must Die, The Persian Boy, The Praise Singer, The Mask of Apollo, The Bull From the Sea, Fire From heaven and just about anything Mary Renault has written.

Corelli's MandolinMatt's Pick!  Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres is a modern classic, one of the best written and passionate books about Greece by any foreign writer, if not the Best. The book takes place on the island of Kefalonia during the Second World War. This is a captivating book, a sort of 100 Years of Solitude in the Ionian Islands. So good they could not wait to make a bad movie of it which seems to have taken some of the shine off De Bernieres. No matter. 100 years from now they will still be reading this book if people still know how to read by then.

Colossus of Maroussi by Henry MillerThe Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller gets a lot of miles out of the few weeks Miller spent in Greece on the eve of World War Two hanging out with Lawrence Durrell, George Seferis and the Colossus himself George Katsimbalis. Is this a great book? Some people think so. It is the tamest of his books from that period probably because wandering around Greece with these guys was a lot more uplifting then chasing whores in Paris. For some people the way Miller twists Greece to fit his view of the world can be a little annoying. But like all his books it has its moments and it is, after all, Henry Miller writing about Greece so probably worth having.

Inventing ParadiseInventing Paradise by Edmund Keeley is part cultural history, part literary criticism, part personal memoir that captures modern Greece before, during and after the Second World War. In it we come face to face with such literary heroes as Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, George Seferis and George Katsimbalis. These characters and others spend evenings in tavernas, and explore Greece in an extraordinary time. Perhaps Keeley's best work and a must for any fans of these writers or people who wished they could have experienced Greece in a romantic time on the eve of catastrophe.

Labyrinthe WaysLabyrinthine Ways by Aurelia is a celebration of the mysteries, magic, myths, folklore, archaeology, distinctive cuisine, and the rugged landscape and courageous and indomitable people of Crete.

The story unfolds in modern times with flash-backs to the days when first Constantinople, known as “The Queen of Cities,” and “the most glorious city known to man,” and then Venice, the unspeakably cruel and hated invader, ruled Crete.

We learn of the fables and legends related to these times as they are recalled today with vivid detail by men in the kafeneia of mountain villages. Into these labyrinthine paths wander tender and vulnerable souls on journeys of self-discovery. Among them is a young wayfarer haunted by the mysterious Crete that dominated and tormented the life of Nikos Kazantzakis, Crete’s most famous novelist and author of Zorba the Greek.

Labyrinthine Ways is a novel that paints a portrait of the many magical and mysterious faces of Crete. The story enchants with fables of Crete’s glorious past, and is written in a smooth, free-flowing style for the tourist who wants to experience The Great Island in all of its richness. Labyrinthine Ways presents Crete at its best; read this book before visiting the island. Click Here to Order

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

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The Long ShadowThe Long Shadow by Loretta Proctor: Fourteen-year-old Andrew discovers his mother's hidden diary at his grandmother's home during a Christmas gathering. His eyes are opened to a family secret when he reads about her time as a nurse in Salonika during the First World War, and the tragic love affair she had with his father, a Greek Officer who died in battle. Four years later, Andrew is impelled to visit his father's land and trace his roots. What - and who - he finds there will change his life forever. The Long Shadow is filled with descriptions of Greece and its people. Dramatic images of battle and the terrible conditions endured by the Allied Armies entrenched around Salonika in the “Birdcage” are authentic and vivid. Greek music and dance play a vital role, reconciling in Andrew the dichotomy of belonging to two very different cultures and helping him to unite them in his heart and soul.

'I'm immensely impressed by the novel, especially the Greek scenes. It's a marvellously accomplished book. Many congratulations on an impressive achievement.'
-Colin Wilson: renowned author of The Outsider, The Occult, Mysteries and many more (and Matt Barrett's favorite writer)

Dying Phoenix by Loretta ProctorDying Phoenix by Loretta Proctor: 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. 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.

Stealing the MarblesSTEALING THE MARBLES By E.J. Knapp: At the turn of the 19th century Lord Elgin stole pieces of the Parthenon and shipped them to England. At the turn of the 21st century Danny Samsel is going to steal them back. When does a wrong become a right? Danny Samsel has defeated the finest security systems in the world. Interpol wants him; the FBI wants him; the CIA wants him. He is a Master Thief – even the White House could not prevent him from liberating one of their paintings. Now, after a year languishing on Kefalonia, his attention is focused on his greatest adventure: the heist of the century. He has decided to return the Marbles to Greece. His motives are not entirely altruistic: he wants Kastania, his beautiful, extraordinary and estranged girlfriend – able to access and overcome any computer system – back in his life. She never left his heart. And he needs her to steal the Marbles from the British Museum.With help from friends worldwide plus a few new, surprising ones, Danny and the Marbles endure a perilous journey to their Hellenic home. With dire, vicious interventions from Interpol and avaricious underworld art collectors, Danny conquers all obstacles with grit and humour.   At great cost to himself and grievous loss to his accomplices, Danny rights an international wrong, settles a few other scores, foxes old foes, and guarantees the future of his chosen career.

A Garland for Aphrodite by Sean Toner: A rare episodic novel coming out Cyprus and based on real experiences in the Paphos region at the beginning of the new millenium. This book is easy to read both as individual stories and as a collective piece, It can also be read on many levels. It explores myth and reality in a country famed for its ancient Goddess, Aphrodite. It is a commentary on the impact of the modern on the traditional, in the Mediteranean. It will appeal to conservationists and eco minded people. Last, but certainly not least, it shows how an English botanist finds himself and a new love interest by immersing himself in the search for rare endemic flowers in the Akamas National Park. As Sean Toner tells each tale, the reader knows he is very familiar with the territory and in the telling he also manages to expose a wealth of Cypriot character and humour. Find it using the Amazon search link on this page.

Willard ManusLOVE UNDER AEGEAN SKIES, Willard Manus' latest and most controversial novel, has just been published by Amazon as an E-Book. Available only on Kindle, it sells for $4.99. LOVE UNDER AEGEAN SKIES is set in the Greek island village of Lindos, where the author lived for many years.  The novel deals frankly with the sexual highjinks of Lindos' foreign colony set against the backdrop of Greek politics, culminating in the 1967 military coup. The novel's hero, Michael Prestopino, is an American college teacher who has come to Rhodes to follow in the footsteps of his literary hero--Lawrence Durrell, author of "The Alexandria Quartet" and a 1946 travel book about Rhodes, "Reflections On a Marine Venus."  Michael not only has tumultuous love affairs with two different women, but makes friends with Jordan Pavlidis, a Rhodian-born, Berkeley-educated lawyer who is a fighter for civil and human rights. It is he who introduces Michael to the deep, dark realities of Greek life, the interior life that few foreigners ever get to see or experience. What Michael learns from Jordan stirs him deeply and makes him see his hero Durrell in a new and unflattering light--especially concerning the latter's Royalist and anti-semitic tendencies. And when the right-wingers Jordan has battled all his life seize power in a coup d' etat, Michael's friendship with him literally becomes a matter of life and death.

Willard Manus is the author of five other novels, the best-known of which is MOTT THE HOOPLE--the book from which the 70s British rock band took its name. He has also written journalism, short stories, plays, several children's books (including the prize-winning A DOG CALLED LEKA) and a memoir of the 35 years he spent in the Greek islands, THIS WAY TO PARADISE--DANCING ON THE TABLES.

book coverAcross the Water in Tenedos by Serena Hale: On the beautiful Island of Kalymnos three villas in the village of Massouri are occupied by holiday makers. Each villa has been booked for four weeks. At first glance there are no connections between the people in the three villas but as the days become weeks it is clear that there is history there to be unravelled. The first villa has three brothers, the second villa has a group of eight old university friends and the third villa has a young married couple. As love dies and blossoms and feuds simmer someone’s plans turn out to be ‘deadly’.

Spearfishing In Skatahori and Other tales of Modern Greece: The Travel Writings of Matt Barrett
People who have used Matt Barrett's website and have read his book have one question: Why is this book unpublished? It is laugh-out-loud funny, informative, and a perspective on traveling that reminds one more of a neurotic David Sederis than a travel writer. The main reason it is still unpublished is because the author never really tried to get it published. He wrote it. Put it on the web and moved on to something else, as is his nature. The good news is that you can read it and it is free at
www.mattbarrett.net/spearfishing   

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

Cicada's ChoiceCicada's Choice by Nitsa Olivadoti: A story about leaving behind all that we hold dear. In the aftermath of World War II, sixteen year old Eleni accepts a marriage proposal from a mysterious Greek-American. As she boards the ship alone that will sail from Greece to the United States, her heart is in a state of constant conflict. Should she be anxious or happy? The guilt of hurting Yianni, a young boy who has admitted his love for her openly, makes her feel perhaps she is not worthy of true love at all. This guilt is compounded by leaving her mother and her beloved country behind. Eleni is not the first or the last person to ruin innocent love by making hard choices. Eleni may be naïve but she is also prepared, like a cicada, to continue singing through the hottest and hardest of days. This choice is only the beginning of her story. This novel is the first of three in the Cicada Series. Available in paperback or on Kindle.

cafe tempestCafé Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek  Island by Barbara Bonfigli is a witty, evocative, beautifully written novel that puts you right in the heart of Greek island life. It’s so alive with the sights and smells and tastes and characters of Greece that you can pick it up and start your Mediterranean vacation on page one. On a deeper level, the book is filled with the kinds of observations, reflections, and arc of self- discovery that make Eat, Pray, Love so compelling.

When Sarah, a thirty-something American theatrical producer, is asked to direct the locals in their summer show, she picks Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.  What follows is a hilarious adventure in casting, rehearsing, and consuming. Her neighbors are excited about acting but delirious about eating. Their rehearsals in a deconsecrated church become a feast in four acts. Armed with a sizzling wit, a dangerously limited Greek vocabulary, and a pitch-perfect ear for drama, Sarah navigates the major egos and minor storms of a cab driver Caliban, a postmaster Prospero, and a host of fishermen dukes and knaves. When she falls in love, there are even trickier seas to navigate. Her own offstage romance provides an exhilarating, unpredictable counterpoint to Shakespeare’s story of magic, intrigue, and the power of love. To order go to www.tellmepress.com

eurydicestreet: a place in athensEurydice Street: A Place in Athens by Sofka Zinovieff. In the summer of 2001 Sofka Zinovieff accompanied her husband on a posting back to Athens. This book is both an account of her enthusiastic, if often balked, attempts to transform herself into a Greek, and a vivid evocation of a city in a chaotic ferment of change. In its lively and often trenchant blend of personal recollection and a depiction of an Athens of rowdy tavernas, resourceful refugees, majestic prostitutes, innumerable theatre companies, ferocious demonstrations and age-old customs affectionately preserved, this is a thoroughly engaging memoir. The Spectator

A guidebook of a kind, a guide to the Athens that is rather than the Athens that is trying to be. It is both a modest and a magnificently well-judged book, which anyone thinking of an Athenian trip ought to read. It is generous, appreciative as well as exasperated. Times Literary Supplement

aphrodites curse by kieran ballAphrodite's Curse by Kieran Ball: All is not well in the heavens. Aphrodite, goddess of love, has matched one woman with two men. To make matters worse, Aphrodite has fallen for Dionysus, god of wine, legendary drunkard and serial womaniser. Perhaps that's why she becomes so intrigued with the mortal who runs into the arms of his other great passion - Greece. There, he begins an epic quest for the answer to the great riddle of love. It's a quest that takes him from Athens, through the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanese, until sensing a higher force is guiding him, he ventures to Mt. Olympus for a surreal showdown with Aphrodite herself. Love story and travelogue, Aphrodite's Curse is a philosophic tale of broken hearts, broken suitcases and a broken man searching for the meaning of life, love and everything.
To order directly from the publisher click here

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

Gates of FireGates of Fire by Steven Pressfield is an epic novel of the battle of Thermopylae where Leonidas and 300 Spartans held off the Army of Persia to the last man who lived to tell the tale. Pressfield manages to recreate a moment in ancient history and brings to life the greatest military stand in History. In his next book Tides of War, he tells the story of the extraordinary Athenian soldier Alcibiades a follower of Socrates and both a savior and enemy of Athens. Great way to learn about ancient history while being entertained by a good writer.

In Kithairon's Shadow by Jon Edward Martin. In 480 B.C., Xerxes led a vast army intent on the domination of Europe. Only a tiny collection of Greek city-states stood in his path. At Thermopylae the Persians annihilated the small force of King Leonidas of Sparta, then marched on to Athens, reducing the city to ruins. Outnumbered and beset by treachery, Sparta, Athens and their allies gathered near the town of Plataea for one final battle. The future of Western civilization hung on the outcome. This is the story of five men from ancient Greece and the parts they would play in determining their future, and ours.

Odyssey Magazine is a wonderful source of info with interesting articles, photos, news, art, culture and more. I love this magazine and get very excited when it comes in the mail. If you are a Greek American it will be like your lifeline home and if you are a traveler you will learn more about Greece than you thought possible. Many articles on history, the diaspora, well known or up and coming Greek artists, musicians, writers, politicians, and their summer issue is as full of practical information as any of the guidebooks. Great color pictures and excellent graphics. Classy magazine.

You can order it at a special discounted rate at: www.greektravel.com/odysseyform

Book cover of Well-Founded Fear BookcoverWell Founded Fear by Tom Leclair: Young American lawyer Casey Mahan interviews Kurdish applicants for asylum at the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees in Athens. She pities the refugees’ plight and records their desperate stories, but her well-meaning documentary turns into a legal thriller when a refugee she has approved seems involved with a poison gas attack on the Turkish embassy. Forced to track down the elusive refugee in the United States, Casey learns he is a threat to Americans, understands her complicity, and experiences her applicants’ “well-founded fear of persecution.” Like Leclair's other book, Passing Off which also takes place in Greece this is the kind of novel that Grecofiles will love not only because of the familiar places, people and Leclair's ability to fill as much info about Greece and the Greeks as Patricia Storace but also because he opens the curtains on the Kurdish refugees who are as much a part of Athens life as any group of immigrants.

Passing Off by Tom Leclair. A second-string American basketball player spending a season with an Athens team is held hostage to a terrorist plot to blow up the Parthenon in this must-read novel for anyone with an interest in Greek basketball. The story is framed as the memoir of Michael Keever, a Continental Basketball Association recruiter who in his heyday spent 10 days with the Boston Celtics. Given the opportunity to play for the Panathinaikos team if he lies and passes as Greek-American, Keever complies, moving his reluctant wife and daughter to Athens, only to find the Greek fans fiercely hostile to American players. The beauty of this book is that you are never sure if it is a novel or a memoir. Two things are for sure: Leclair knows basketball and he knows Greece. He should. He spends a lot of time there. I would not be surprised to find out he actually played for Panathinaikos.

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

A Lone Red Apple by Aurelia is a love story of unforgettable poignancy that unfolds in a manner that evokes classical history and mythology, blending it with modern day romance in a timeless and whimsical masterpiece. Aurelia makes the poetry of Sappho come alive and also manages to tell us an awful lot about modern Greece. Great reading for anyone going to the Greek islands. Light enough to read even with a serious hangover.

Bones in the Sea: Time Apart on a Greek Island Bones in the Sea: Time Apart on a Greek Island by Andrew Horton is the story of a year spent on the island of Kea by American film writer and professor Horton and his family. In it we meet some of the eccentric and fascinating expats and locals who make fine fodder for this fun book that is a valuable resource for anyone moving to a Greek island and in particular the island of Kea (like me).

After Greece: Poems by Christopher BakkenAfter Greece: Poems by Christopher Bakken
Winner of the 2001 T. S. Eliot Prize. An account of travel and a collection of ecstatic lyrics. We encounter the obsessions of a hellenized barbarian, an American poet residing in, not touring, an environment haunted by profane revelations and sacred commonplaces. We move beyond the crowded sites and restored monuments, to places where the presence of the ancient world is still palpable in the violent realities of the modern Balkans. Looking through these poems into artifacts and ruined places, we hear 'spirits of that barren landscape call out still,' and we feel, again and again, what connects us to the past is stronger than what separates us from it.

Traveler's Greece Matt's Pick!  Travelers Greece: Memories of an Enchanted Land is an anthology of travel writing by John Tomkinson of over 100 visitors to Greece spanning a period of more than 3 centuries, from the late 16th to the early 20th. From waterspouts in the Ionian sea to vampires on Mykonos, this book is of interest to anyone visiting Greece and especially those who love the history and culture of Greece. From many rare works the book has a great variety of writing, and a wide range of approaches to Greece, from the unashamedly romantic to the brutally cynical. Not merely a valuable repository of historical evidence, 'Travelers' Greece' is an anthology which the non-specialist can read with pleasure from cover to cover. The book has 608 pages and 81 illustrations and is great companion reading during a trip to Greece.E-mail the author at tomkinso@otenet.gr

Oedipus on a Pale Horse: When David Sheppard was 20, he considered a literary life, beginning with an extensive trip to Greece. But a potentially deadly encounter with his father derailed these plans, and instead, Sheppard pursued a thirty-year career in aerospace, on the way marrying and fathering two children. Now, 32 years later, he fulfills his life-long literary dream on a three-month solo odyssey through Greece, a journey that quickly becomes a quest to understand his past. In the process of relating his own life stories to those of ancient Greek myth, Sheppard succeeds in creating his own personal mythology, with the goal of settling a complicated father-son relationship, a divorce from his wife of 18 years, and the disappearance of his only daughter. Can he survive the search within while traveling this ancient land of murder and suicide? Travel with the author through this internal, mythic landscape as he uncovers startling revelations about his own life as a particular case of the human condition. David Sheppard, a previous U.S. Air Force captain, holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Arizona State and a M.S. in astronautical engineering from Stanford University. He has work on many NASA projects, including Space Shuttle flights and missions to the outer planets. Subsequently, he studied creative writing and American literature at the University of Colorado. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, and in The Arvon International Poetry Competition Anthology (Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, editors). A veteran of many writing groups and conferences, he is a past member of the Rocky Mountain Writers Guild, having chaired its Literary Society and participated in its Life Poets Society. In yet another of his many lives, he taught astronomy, novel writing and Greek mythology at New Mexico State University - Carlsbad. He has traveled throughout Western Europe, and is an amateur photographer and astronomer.

Kindled Terraces: American Poets in GreeceKindled Terraces: American Poets in Greece, edited by Don Schofield, features poems by 40 contemporary American poets influenced by their experience in modern Greece. Spanning more than five decades, the poems in this anthology are written by highly acclaimed and newer poets who embrace a variety of styles. The wide range of voices in this collection illustrates the extent Greece moves those who get to know the country intimately, and how its history, mythology, and modern diversity hold a significant place in the American poetic imagination.


Lizzie's Paradise by Elizabeth Parker tells the story of Lizzie who had always dreamed of living on a Greek island. At the age of 54 the opportunity came to buy a taverna on a small island in a remote area of Greece. She sold her house in the UK and moved to Greece. The beauty and simplicity of life on the island compensates for the lack of modern technology and the book is filled with the kind of characters and adventures that those who have spent time on the islands feel a great nostalgia for when they finally leave and go back to the 'real world'. Lizzie's Paradise is beautifully illustrated by Martina Selway. For adults or children or even those who are in-between.
E-mail the author at
libralizgr@yahoo.co.uk  

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

My Family and Other Animals Matt's Pick! My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Most people are familiar with Lawrence Durrell who wrote the Alexandria Quartet among other books. But did you know he had a more famous brother named Gerald who was a world famous zoologist and author? My Family and Other Animals is his classic tale of his childhood on the island of Corfu where the Durrells moved to in the thirties from damp gray England. This is a wonderful book about an idyllic time and will be loved by anyone who likes animals. For those who don't you may learn to love them. The book is all about young Gerry's collection of animal friends and their adventures in the family villa.

Birds Beasts and RelativesBirds Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell takes up where My Family and Other Animals leaves off and is another autobiographical delight about the Durrell family sojourns on Corfu and the ten-year old Gerry's efforts to collect creatures for his family zoo. This is a delightful book full of simple, well-known things and a childhood intimately recalled in middle-age. Like all of his nature books this is a good way to forget your problems, much like going on a holiday in your mind as are his books Fauna and Family and Fillets of Plaice from the same period of Durrell's childhood on Corfu. They are all recommended.

greek booksRenowned author Willard Manus gives us this grand story of high adventure set on the beautiful Aegean Sea.  A Dog Called Leka tells the story of Ben Edgeworth, an eighteen-year old boy, and his remarkable dog Leka, as they sail among the Greek isles in a catamaran built by Ben himself. The reader will join with the two adventurers as they face unexpected dangers, learning to survive by their wits and skill.  Leka came to Ben as a hungry stray, searching the shipyard for scraps of food.  He quickly proves himself to be a faithful companion in an extraordinary journey that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. Willard Manus was born and raised in New York City but lived for many years in the Greek islands, mostly in the village of Lindos, on the island of Rhodes. His experiences there were published in a memoir, THIS WAY TO PARADISE--DANCING ON THE TABLES.

The Pale Surface of Things by Janey Bennett : Award-winner! BEST BOOK 2007, Multicultural Fiction, from USA Book News. Archaeology, goats and dogs, honor, ethics, lies and betrayals are part and parcel of all that happens when two cultures abrade. When a young American archaeologist runs from his impending marriage and secure future and finds himself in the traditional world of a Cretan village, he is forced to confront the feelings he’s avoided all his life: rage, fear, envy, and shame, as he becomes the central pawn in a vicious family vendetta. During World War II, the village suffered terrible reprisals at the hands of the Nazis. The present-day priest is the grandson of the priest at that time. He works to heal the deep wounds remaining from the war. Love, loyalty, power, and death all pass through the days of the story as it unfolds across the face of western Crete.

“The Pale Surface of Things resonates with vitality and authenticity. The story is suspenseful and the dialogue reflects the true voices of the villages of Crete." —Harry Mark Petrakis

"The Last Day of Paradise, the first novel by emerging writer Kiki Denis, a Greek educated in the United States, tells the colliding stories of the teenager Sunday and her mother Chrysa. Denis has all the right instincts to tell a kaleidoscopic coming-of-age tale....
...the characters are intriguinlgy kooky.......the jagged language sparkles with beautiful riffs like 'love is boiling hot, velvety red and infinitely massive,' adding sizzle to the palette of weirdly tender characters and pastoral scenes....This is fascinating territory...."
Kathimerini English Edition, Greece, 1/25/2007

"Kiki Denis's debut is a slippery in-your-face accelerated rush of sex, hokum, and Greek family life. A little bit Eurydice, a little bit Chick-lit, with non-stop riffing on reality, time shifting, and the sheer punk roar of wordplay. She possesses the bent prowess of a metallic panther. I love the magic in her over the top writing."
—Richard Peabody, Judge for the contest and Editor of
Mondo Barbie

You can find most of these books by using the Amazon.com search box on the left, which I have placed conveniently all over the site. Just copy and paste the title into the search window and Amazon will find it for you.

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The Olympian- A Tale of Ancient HellasThe Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas by Gene Kraay. In 480 B.C., the Greeks prepare to celebrate their 75th Olympiad.  By universal consent, all disputes among their various city-states are put aside during the five-day festival.  Competition is to be on the playing field, not the battlefield.  For the ancient Hellenes, the Olympics are a celebration of life as they understand it: a struggle for success and glory.  Inside the dusty arena, all is desire, hope, exertion, agony, defeat and triumph.  Athletes can prove their strength and skill, and victory means certain fame—even if it comes at the risk of death or mutilation.

Among those contests is a no-holds-barred version of boxing, where the fight continues until one of the boxers drops and cannot rise or concedes the match.    And one of the acclaimed masters of this sport is Theagenes of Thasos.   Even as a boy he had shown tremendous strength, once carrying away a huge statue of his idol, Herakles, from its spot in the public square and to his own house.  The theft, discovered, led to a severe beating from his father—and his decision to leave Thasos until he could return in triumph from the Olympics as the greatest boxer of his age.

But 480 B.C. proves momentous for not only Theagenes but all of his countrymen.  While the Greeks are preparing to convene the Olympics, Xerxes 1, Persia’s all-powerful “King of Kings,” launches his invasion of Greece.  Ten years earlier, his father, Darius 1, had set out to conquer the country—but had been turned back at Marathon.  Determined to avenge the defeat of his father, Xerxes assembles an enormous army and crosses the Hellespont.  At the pass of Thermopylae, only Spartan King Leonidas, commanding his 300 handpicked warriors and about 5,000 other Hellenes, dares to stand in his way.

Also marching to Thermopylae, to settle a personal score of his own, is Theagenes.  It is at Thermopylae where “the 300 Spartans” will attain immortality.  And where Theagenes will come face-to-face with a truth that transcends even the glories of Olympic fame.

“As a military man,” says Gene Kraay, “I have believed all my life that athletic competition can prepare an individual to meet even the gravest of challenges, which in my opinion is war.  In The Olympian, while I recognize the accomplishments of athletes, I try to draw more attention to the accomplishments and sacrifices of people like Lampis”—a famous Spartan boxer—“who walk away from the games to serve their country.”

Says Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire: "I’ve written about Thermopylae myself and I can tell you Gene Kraay’s The Olympian weaves a mesmerizing tale, full of fascinating characters and insights, that reaches a totally satisfying climax at the Hot Gates.  I was swept along by Mr. Kraay’s masterful (and visceral) storytelling.  This is his first book and he’s a natural!  The Olympian puts you back 2500 years and does it seamlessly.  The book feels like it was discovered among the rocky peaks of Hellas and translated from the ancient tongue.  Convincing, compelling, a must-read for all lovers of the ancient world.”

Gene Kraay is a former collegiate boxer, NCAA soccer All-American and United States Air Force fighter pilot (1971-1979).  The Olympian is his first novel.

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