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Dying Phoenix
Dying Phoenix
by Loretta Proctor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.57

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convincing, 12 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dying Phoenix (Paperback)
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.


The Long Shadow
The Long Shadow
by Loretta Proctor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Long Shadow, 25 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Long Shadow (Paperback)
This is a most compelling read. I sat up to the early hours reading the last couple of hundred pages, not wishing to let it go.

It is a book of two halves: the first set in Salonica (Thessaloniki, Greece) during the First World War: our heroine a well-bred English nurse who falls in love with a Greek Army Officer. Set twenty years or so later, the second half just pre-dates the Second World War when our heroine's son returns to Greece in search of his own past.

I came to The Long Shadow because I wished to learn more about the often ignored Salonica Campaign of the First World War in which my grandfather took part. Loretta Proctor has clearly researched this place and time with great diligence and manages to convey a vivid account and flavour of the period. Her own Greek origins must have been a great help.

Not everyone will feel that diary entries with extensive direct speech is an appropriate medium for recounting the narrative and the historical detail. It may jar with some, but for me it worked just fine and did not grate at all. I accepted that our heroine was a most meticulous recorder of conversations.

Having taken all and more than I hoped to take from the first half of the book, the second half was a welcome and exhilarating bonus and surprise. Our heroine's son embraces Greece with his father's vigour. I was right behind him all the way. As an admirer of the rebetika tradition of Greek popular songs, I particularly enjoyed reading about his sally into the community of the manga and the respect he received there as a palikari.

Loretta Proctor writes with an easy and sympathetic manner. She tells a good tale. I am hoping my wife's book club will read it and ask me to join in their discussions!


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