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Greek Books: Literature-Foreign Writers

You can find most of these books by using the search Links which are included with the descriptions of the book.

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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

Arrested Song by Irena Karafilly

Calliope Adham – young, strong-willed, and recently widowed – is schoolmistress in the village of Molyvos when Hitler’s army invades Greece in 1941. Well-read and linguistically gifted, she is recruited by the Germans to act as their liaison officer. It is the beginning of a personal and national saga that will last for several decades.

Calliope’s wartime duties bring her into close contact with Lieutenant Lorenz Umbreit, the Wehrmacht commander. The schoolmistress is an active member of the Greek Resistance, yet her friendship with the German blossoms against all odds, in a fishing village seething with dread and suspicion.

Amid privation and death, the villagers’ hostility finally erupts, but the bond between Calliope and Umbreit survives, taking unforeseeable turns as Greece is ravaged by civil war and oppressed by military dictatorship. It is against this turbulent background that Calliope emerges as a champion for girls’ and women’s rights.

ARRESTED SONG is a haunting, sumptuous novel, weaving the private and the historic into a vivid tapestry of Greek island life. Spanning over three decades, it chronicles the story of an extraordinary woman and her lifelong struggle against social and political tyranny.

"Karafilly succeeds brilliantly where I had decided not to even try. A very accomplished novel."-Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

ARRESTED SONG is available from or, Barnes & Noble, Lexikopoleio/Athens, Rodi/Petra, or through The book will be distributed in North America and Australia in September.

The EvzoneTHE EVZONE by Elaine Jerome
This story takes place in Greece (1968-1975) during the tumultuous years of the dictatorship, university uprising and the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey.  A chance meeting between the protagonists - Nichols, a 21 year old villager serving in the elite Royal Guard (Exzone) of the Greek military, and Stephanie, a married, 38 year old Greek American- ignites an affair that crosses conventional boundaries.  The intensity of their love links them inextricably for the next ten years, despite separations, personal calamities, and the maelstrom of political unrest that surrounds them. Ultimately, however, their surrender to cultural dictates , unyielding social pressure and an unexpected twist of events is what eventually determines the outcome of their destiny. Order from the author:

Turtle Beach Return to Turtle Beach by Richard Clark. From the author of the No.1 best-selling novel The Lost Lyra. Following the break-up of her parents’ marriage, a young girl is forced to leave the island of her birth. Returning to Crete for her father’s funeral she discovers feelings she thought she had lost. An unexpected discovery in an olive grove takes her on a journey that will change her life forever. Richard Clark is an author, journalist and magazine editor who has to date written 10 books about the islands of Greece. Many of his books have been No.1 bestsellers in the Amazon sales charts on both sides of the Atlantic. His debut novel The Lost Lyra was a No 1 bestseller. Richard has worked as a journalist for the BBC, Telegraph Newspapers, ITV and Time Inc among others and has edited seven mass market UK magazines and websites. Nowadays he is a full time author and splits his time between the UK and Crete, where he has a home. He is married with two grown-up children and two grandchildren. Available on

Forgotten Song by Riahcrd ClarkThe Forgotten Song, the new novel by Richard Clark, is available in paperback (£6.99) and for Kindle (.99p)  from Amazon stores worldwide. Musician Phoebe’s life is falling apart and her marriage and career in tatters. A longing in her heart left by the absence of the father she has never known has brought her to rock bottom. Following in her mother’s footsteps, can a visit to the island of Crete help rekindle her love for life and music?

Praise for Richard Clark’s Books

'An entirely captivating tale from cover to cover.' Patricia Wilson

‘Clark is particularly good on the colours, flavours and scents of Greece. He has got under the skin of the place in a way few outsiders have been able to.’ Mark Hudson, winner of Somerset Maugham Award, Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, Samuel Johnson Prize

'Richard Clark captures the spirit of Greece I love. His books make me long to see the places he describes.’ Jennifer Barclay, author of Falling in Honey and An Octopus in My Ouzo

‘There is poetry in Richard Clark’s words and through his eyes. I recommend anyone missing Greece, visiting Greece or just wishing they could go to Greece to take a look!’ Sara Alexi, author of The Greek Village Series

‘Thanks, Richard, for adding your great eye to your gifted pen in service to sharing the essence of Greece with the world!’ Jeffrey Siger, bestselling, award-winning US crime writer

‘Richard Clark writes with great authority and a deep affection for his subject, which comes from his long association with Greece… excellent.’Marjory McGinn, author of Things Can Only Get Feta, Homer’s Where the Heart Is, A Scorpion in the Lemon Tree and A Saint for the Summer

'This beautiful story (The Lost Lyra) will renew your faith in mankind and make you believe in fate. Maria A. Karamitsos, founder and editor, Windy City Greek

Available on

Harley and the Holy Mountain: Through the Heart of Greece to its Soul by John Mole

Meet Harley - an antiquated 50cc motorbike, top speed 25mph, who carried me on the back roads of Greece from the island of Evia to deliver the collected Jeeves and Wooster to a Moldvian monk on Mount Athos, a self-governing state run by monks. Harley and the Holy Mountain is a sequel to It’s All Greek To Me! with similar humour, self-deprecation, entertaining stories, and insights into today’s Greece. The road trip is based on a lifetime’s love of Greece. It is seasoned with experiences and memories, absurdity and humour, treats and discomforts, the terrors and boredom of the slow lane, and above all comedy. With a glimmer of enlightenment at the end. Harley and the Holy Mountain is a journey through the heart of Greece to its soul. We pass sites and sights from prehistory to the present: a Mycenaean beehive tomb, 3500 years old; the body of a Russian saint, who teleported pilaff; a refugee camp in a chicken factory; and many other extraordinary places as well as tavernas, cafes, cheap hotels and anywhere else I can find conversation and a jug of wine. We encounter the key moments in three thousand years of history that every Greek is familiar with and create their sense of who they are. Some are celebrated, for example the War of Independence from the Ottomans, others are no less powerful but unspoken, like the Civil War of 1946-49. As we meander north we come across the different peoples that created today’s Greece. A hundred years ago the first language of half the population was not Greek but any one of Albanian, Aromanian, Macedonian, Pomak, Tsakonian, Romaniote, Ladino, Romani, Turkish, Italian and half a dozen Anatolian dialects with all their racial and cultural baggage. Whatever their origins, Greeks are brought up to believe they are direct descendants of the Ancient Greeks whose language they speak. They also believe they are custodians of the one true religion, Orthodoxy, the defining characteristic of Greekness for two thousand years. Having travelled through time and space, I leave Harley at the frontier of Athos and plunge into a spiritual dimension. Wonder-working icons and relics are channels to the divine; everyday miracles are part of nature; the marvellous deeds of saints are facts not metaphors. Their reality permeates Greek culture and sense of self.Greece is two hundred years old. Out of a patchwork of cultures and languages Greeks have forged a homogeneous European nation. Since the bloody revolution against the Ottomans, Greeks have resisted British, French, Russian, German, Italian, Bulgarian and American incursion, invasion or domination. The struggle continues for independence from the Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington institutions that control its finances. Through turbulence and disaster Greeks have created a vibrant, enterprising, European democracy with a unique identity. It is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary people. Harley and the Holy Mountain joins in the celebration. And the fun.

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Murder in Mykonos by Jeffry Siger

Murder in Mykonos by Jeffry SigerA Mamma Mia setting for a No Country For Old Men story.

A young woman on holiday on Mykonos, the most famous of Greece’s Aegean Cycladic islands, simply disappears off the face of the earth. And no one notices.

When politically incorrect, hotshot detective Andreas Kaldis is promoted out of Athens to serve as police chief for Greece’s island paradise of Mykonos, he’s certain his homicide days are over. Murders don’t happen in tourist heaven; at least that’s what he’s thinking as he stares at the remains of a young woman found ritually bound and buried on a pile of human bones inside a remote mountain church. Then he starts finding bodies, bones, and suspects everywhere he looks. It is Greece’s most unimaginable nightmare, one no politician wants to confront—a serial killer loose in paradise.

Teamed with the canny, nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the island’s fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery that’s haunted Mykonos undetected for decades.

Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, another young woman disappears and political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas finds himself plunged into ancient myths and forgotten island places, racing against a killer intent on claiming a new victim who is herself determined to outstep him.

Jeffry Siger has a whole series of police mysteries that take place in Greece. You can see all Jeffry Siger's books by going to his website at

A SEA CHANGE by Jacqueline Paizis

Set against the backdrop of the emerging Greek economic and political crisis in 2010, A SEA CHANGE tells the story of LORNA FITZGERALD a young English teacher living on a Greek island, trying to forget her past.‘Leaving seemed like the best thing to do. Far better to leave than be left.’ Lorna’s attempts to find contentment are turned upside down when she witnesses the abduction of a young Albanian boy’s mother. Lorna becomes the child’s surrogate mother. She doubts her ability to be a mother to DEMAJ but as the months pass she begins to love her small companion and her anger that nobody seems to care about the disappearance of his mother brings her into conflict with the Greek/Albanian mafia in the characters of ΒΕRISHA and KAZAGIS. In the process Lorna’s complacency is challenged. There is no immunity from the dark side of the world even on an idyllic Greek island, she tells herself. But for Lorna the sea change is Athens, a city erupting in mass disobedience. It is here that the uncertain relationship between herself and ALEX HILAKI crystallzes. Their attraction for each other enables Alex, a high school teacher and political activist, to draw Lorna into a world where many Greeks have no choice but to confront and challenge government austerity. Lorna is aware that she is in love with Alex but now faces the dilemma of joining him in Athens, the city that has ignited her character and shaken her complacency or staying in the relative calm and peace of Kerisos. Available on

THE CLEANER OF KASTORIA by Jacqueline Paizis

This book enters the past and present of Dina, a young village girl whose wild decision sets her on an unforgettable odyssey through the horrors and tragedy of the Greek Civil War. Leading her Democratic Army unit of girls through icy rivers and bloody battles she is haunted by memories of her young husband. In the aftermath of the Colonel’s dictatorship in 1974 Dina still guards her dark secrets and as housecleaner she faces her final challenge from Vassiliki the monarchist. "I found the Cleaner of Kastoria a really good read. Its a human story about Dina, the cleaner of the title, which tells how her involvement in the Greek Civil War of 1946 to 1949 affected her whole life. Dina maybe a fictional character, but her story indicates a lot of first hand research by the author, Jacqueline Paizis, and I think she must have met “Dina” in the course of that research. The story is told as Dina remembers the hardships she and her fellow guerilla fighters went through. Bit by bit throughout the novel we see just how her whole life was affected. Its part love story and also a tale of mystery where we don’t know quite how it will all work out until the end of the book. Recommended."-PH

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The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

“In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple are about to open the island’s most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the Özkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island. But beneath the city’s façade of glamour and success, tension is building.

When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story.”

Available at

The Island by Victoria Hislop

Victoria Hislop’s first novel The Island is an international bestseller. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Summer Read, and won Victoria the “Newcomer of the Year” Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007.

"On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother’s past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion.

She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip…"

Available at

THE THREAD by Victoria Hislop

Victoria Hislop’s eagerly-awaited third novel, “The Thread”, was published by Headline Books in October, 2011. In it she returns to Greece, taking as her backdrop the troubled history of the city of Thessaloniki in a story that spans almost a century, beginning  with the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 which almost destroyed the city, burning for almost two days and razing 9,500 houses. The city that rose from the ashes would be very different both architecturally – since  the government commissioned a  French architect to design a new urban plan – but perhaps more importantly in its population since the events that were to unfold shortly afterwards changed the demography of the city forever

Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a devastating fire sweeps through the thriving Greek city where Christians, Jews and Muslims live side by side. Five years later, Katerina Sarafoglou's home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she flees across the sea to an unknown destination in Greece. Soon her life will become entwined with Dimitri's, and with the story of the city itself, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people.

Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents' life story for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of the people who were forced to leave. Should he become their next custodian and make this city his home?

Available at

The Magus by John FowlesThe Magus by John Fowles takes place on the fictional island of Phraxos, which is based on Spetses where the author spent a year teaching at a school similar to the one in the book. Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, "The Magus is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching position on a Greek island where his friendship with the owner of the islands most magnificent estate leads him into a nightmare. As reality and fantasy are deliberately confused by staged deaths, erotic encounters, and terrifying violence, Urfe becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his life. A work rich with symbols, conundrums and labrinthine twists of event, "The Magus is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a work that ranks with the best novels of modern times."

Available on

Fire on the IslandFIRE ON THE ISLAND by Timothy Jay Smith is a playful, romantic thriller set in contemporary Greece, with a gay Greek-American FBI agent, who is undercover on the island to investigate a series of mysterious fires. Set against the very real refugee crisis on the beautiful, sun-drenched Greek islands, this novel paints a loving portrait of a community in crisis. As the island residents grapple with declining tourism, poverty, refugees, family feuds, and a perilously damaged church, an arsonist invades their midst.

Nick Damigos, the FBI agent, arrives on the island just in time to witness the latest fire and save a beloved truffle-sniffing dog. Hailed as a hero and embraced by the community, Nick finds himself drawn to Takis, a young bartender who becomes his primary suspect, which is a problem because they’re having an affair. Theirs is not the only complicated romance in the community and Takis isn’t the only suspicious character on the island. The priest is an art forger, a young Albanian waiter harbors a secret, the captain of the coast guard station seems to have his own agenda, and the village itself hides a violent history. Nick has to unravel the truth in time to prevent catastrophe, as he comes to terms with his own past trauma. In saving the village, he will go a long way toward saving himself.

A long time devotee of the Greek islands, Smith paints the setting with gorgeous color and empathy, ushering in a new romantic thriller with the charm of Zorba the Greek while shedding bright light on the very real challenges of life in contemporary Greece.

Fire on the Island, to be released 7 July 2020. Amazon and Barnes & Noble both have it listed ready for pre-order.

Available on

Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life
by Daniel Klein

One of the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus travels to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books, seeking the best way to achieve a fulfilling old age.  Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island of Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, Klein learns to appreciate old age as a distinct and extraordinarily valuable stage of life. He uncovers simple pleasures that are uniquely available late in life, as well as headier pleasures that only a mature mind can fully appreciate. A travel book, a witty and accessible meditation, and an optimistic guide to living well, Travels with Epicurus is a delightful jaunt to the Aegean and through the terrain of old age led by a droll philosopher. A perfect gift book for the holidays, this little treasure is sure to please longtime fans of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar and garner new ones, young and old.

Available on

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. Available on

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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)

Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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’. Available on

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   

You can find most of these books by using the 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. Available on

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

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 Available on

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.
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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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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. Available on

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).

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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.

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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

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. Available on

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.

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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  

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. Available on

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.

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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. Available on

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

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"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

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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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