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Eager to discover more of his grandfather's past, Edward questions Spiros, their elderly caretaker and old family friend. Finally, as his parents arrive he learns the truth about his grandfather's activities on Crete ...
Eager to discover more of his grandfather's past, Edward questions Spiros, their elderly caretaker and old family friend. Finally, as his parents arrive he learns the truth about his grandfather's activities on Crete during World War Two. Of his friendship with a young Cretan boy and the significance of the family's restored farmhouse
Posted January 5, 2008
Dancing on the Wind Brian Lewis A powerful portrait of Crete during World War II told with great sensitivity by debut novelist Brian Lewis. The theme is a grandson going to visit the family's holiday home on Crete and gradually discovering his grandfather's role in Cretan resistance on the island after the allies' abrupt departure, after telling their remaining troops to surrender. The early part moves along deceptively slowly as Lewis sets the scene with Edward's growing romance with Angelina simultaneously presenting a vivid portrait of modern day Crete. The sights, smells and cuisine will conjure up memories for anyone familiar with Crete from holiday visits. For me the novel comes into its own with Lewis's depiction of the German invasion, guerilla warfare and hardships of life camping out in the hostile White Mountains. The action scenes are particularly well done. He handles the young officer's struggles with Ancient Greek well and draws the reader in with great empathy as he depicts his growing friendship with young Georgios. The pace picks up as the guerilla warfare escalates and young Richard works hard at passing on all he had learned in his own officer training. There are some magnificent passages as Richard and Georgios struggle over the harsh Cretan landscape severely outnumbered by the invading Germans. The sabotage and attacks on the Germans inevitably provoke savage reprisals against the Cretan people. Lewis shows guerilla warfare with all its difficult decisions and unpleasantnesses without flinching, but succeeds in portraying the moral dilemmas facing the sensitive young British officer too. I felt I was taking part in all the harsh realities of life in the mountain caves. I enjoyed the portrait of the Maori warriors and their rendition of the hakka which terrified the Germans just as much as it does opponents of the New Zealand All Blacks these days. Lewis did his research well and by bringing to life an almost forgotten period of history has created an eminently readable novel which should appeal to a wide range of readers. I enjoy action novels with concomitant moral dilemmas and feel the author succeeded admirably in portraying this.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.