The Dying Phoenix is a very worthy sequel to Loretta Proctor’s The Long Shadow. I am pleased I read them in the ‘right’ order, as, knowing what I knew already about Nina’s spirited parents and grandparents, I was keen to find out how life would treat her.
Nina’s tale comes to life in the turbulent setting of Greece, just before and after The Colonels’ coup of April 1967. The first part of the book is a very necessary setting of the scene, largely in Thessaloniki, for the events that unfold later there and in Athens. The story builds nicely and a diverse range of characters is introduced. This is important because, on one level, the success of this book is to give expression, in a most convincing manner, to the ‘take’ on the turmoil of those who occupied very different stations in life.
On other level, the drama of Nina’s tale moves swiftly and is there to be enjoyed with the same ‘page-turning’ urgency as gripped me as The Long Shadow came to its own conclusion. A tale of loves – lost and found – and the human spirit – at its very best and worst.
For some of us, any book set in Greece starts in a good place; it is clear that Loretta Proctor, as an Anglo-Greek, has a very perceptive appreciation of the people, places and time of which she writes. I got to know Greece in the years just after The Colonels regime fell. Tales were relayed then with the bitterness of experience. Dying Phoenix speaks with all the force of a real-time account, where outcomes are yet unknown.
Thank you, Richard Devereux