As someone who loves anything to do with Greece and especially Rhodes, I have been an avid reader of John Manuel's travel books and his blog for the last few years. I find his style of writing these travel books and blog very easy to digest, informative and, above all, amusing. If I was to try and compare his writing style to someone else then Bill Bryson would spring to mind.
When I heard that John was pulling a work of fiction together I was a bit concerned that he would not be able to pull it off. When I discovered that what he'd produced was "A novel of love, loss and consequence" I was even more doubtful as to whether it would be for me (you're more likely to find me reading about Jack Reacher than Mr Darcy!). However, I need not of worried.
The View from Kleoboulos is an excellent first novel that kept me gripped from beginning to end. Its a very easy read with plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing right to the end how things would work out. It was also amusing to see some of the autobiographical elements of the author with recognisable traits of him from his travel writings cropping up in a couple of the characters.
If I was to make one minor criticism it would be that sometimes the author struggles to make the break from the informative nature of his travel writings and, on occasion, pads out with a bit more descriptive detail of the locations and/or connections (e.g. Pink Floyd) than is required. As I say though, only a minor criticism, and one that did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book and giving it 5 stars.
Whether you are drawn to this book and/or author, as I was, because of the author's previous work and the connections with Greece and Rhodes or because of a more general love of romantic fiction, take the plunge and hopefully you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was.