Helena loves going to visit her Grandmother in Athens every summer, but her Grandfather is a tyrant and she is frightened of him. He is a General in a military dictatorship and the apartment where they live us full of his presence with a large portrait of him above a cumbersome desk in a dark and dingy office.
One summer, whilst Helena is at the apartment, there is a big party hosted by her grandparents. Along one of the sideboards are presents galore which have been brought by the guests for her grandfather. Curiosity fills Helena and she opens some of the presents, only to find beautiful figurines, vases and trinkets which take her breath away. They look so old and beautiful, but why is her grandfather receiving these beautiful gifts? When her grandfather finds out she has opened the presents, he is furious and punishes her so badly, she is bruised for weeks. Why would he do this to her! And what is he trying to hide?
When Helena inherits the Athens apartments after her Grandparents death, she is determined to get rid of everything in there, but it takes her weeks to go through everything and she asks the advice of some local antique dealers and they advise her that the things her Grandfather had collected over the years were very valuable and it looked as if some of them had been looted straight from the ground!
Helena then goes on a mission to find out about the stolen artefacts and when she finds out that her own ex-boyfriend is involved in stealing these goods to order, she is determined to bring those responsible to justice.
What another great book by this author whose writing I have loved since reading The Island about 15 years ago (the reason I visited Spinalonga last year!)
Thoroughly researched as her books always are, with characters that are very believable and who I liked (mostly!). One thing I would say is that it’s a hefty read (over 500 pages).
Another well written and really interesting book about Greece which I love reading about. Would definitely recommend.
About the Author
Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than 6 million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller. Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, was a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and one of the biggest selling books of 2016. The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved, was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine. Victoria's most recent novel, One August Night, returned to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. It spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts. Headline Publishing Group. www.headline.co.uk Her books have been translated into forty languages and Victoria was executive producer on the adaptations of three of her novels for Greek television. Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece's most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. Victoria was recently granted an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Sheffield.