The Hidden

( 9 )

Overview

In southern Greece in 2004, a close-knit group of archaeologists searches for the buried traces of a formidable ancient power. A student running from a failed marriage and family, Ben Mercer is a latecomer to their ranks, drawn to the charisma of the group's members—to the double-edged friendship of Jason, the unsettling beauty of Natsuko and Eleschen, and the menace of Max and Eberhard. But Ben is far too eager to join the excavation project, and there is more to the group's dangerous games and dynamic than he ...

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Hidden (CSI Reilly Steel #3)

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Overview

In southern Greece in 2004, a close-knit group of archaeologists searches for the buried traces of a formidable ancient power. A student running from a failed marriage and family, Ben Mercer is a latecomer to their ranks, drawn to the charisma of the group's members—to the double-edged friendship of Jason, the unsettling beauty of Natsuko and Eleschen, and the menace of Max and Eberhard. But Ben is far too eager to join the excavation project, and there is more to the group's dangerous games and dynamic than he understands. And there are things that should always remain hidden.

A novel of astonishing grace and power from award-winning author Tobias Hill, The Hidden brilliantly explores the secrets we keep, the ties that bind us, and the true cost of fulfilling our desires.

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Editorial Reviews

Maria Russo
The Hidden is Hill's fourth novel…and like his previous novels, it's an unusual, exhilarating hybrid of high-stakes, propulsive narrative; erudite yet breezy summations of specialized historical data; and strikingly evocative language…the novel's ideas are explored with stylish rigor and a rare boldness made all the more powerful by its surprising lyricism. The setting and many of the themes in The Hidden call to mind Don DeLillo's novel The Names, but where DeLillo suggests a glamour inherent in obfuscation and enigma, Hill dismantles that whole notion.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
British author Hill's fourth novel, a chilly existential thriller, is dazzling in places, but suffers fatal problems of pacing and plausibility. Ben Mercer, a disaffected Oxford classics student, runs off to Greece to escape the fallout of a failed marriage. There, a chance encounter with former colleague Eberhard affords Ben the chance to work on an archeological dig in Sparta, Spartan civilization being Ben's area of expertise (his “Notes Towards a Thesis” on Spartan culture are interspersed throughout the novel and make a fascinating parallel text). Ben receives a frosty reception from Eberhard's secretive group, but after finding deformed skulls at the dig site, participating in a jackal hunt and developing a relationship with the beautiful Natsuko, Ben is accepted and begins to realize his compatriots have a sinister agenda. Hill's use of the thriller structure to make broader commentary about modern life provides many rewarding and intelligent turns, but the plot itself is slow, predicable and, due to the villains' largely unexplored motivations, unsatisfying. The evocations of Greece and historical details of Sparta are excellent, but too much of this novel is muddled or at odds with itself. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Ben Mercer has a penchant for walking away—from his wife, his daughter, and even his Oxford thesis on the history of the Spartans. An archaeologist, he drifts aimlessly toward Athens, where work waiting tables and a room shared with Albanian dishwashers appear to be as much responsibility as he can handle. But a chance encounter with academic rival Eberhard Sauer, who reluctantly admits that he's in Greece to join an excavation at Sparta, arouses enough professional jealousy to light a fire under Ben. Wrangling a position with the close-knit and unwelcoming dig crew, Ben becomes a pawn in a disturbingly sinister game. An affair with the enigmatic Natsuko skews his judgment and compromises his ability to extricate himself from the group when he realizes that they are not what they seem. VERDICT Acclaimed British poet and novelist Hill displays an enviable facility with descriptive language and has certainly researched the politics of ancient and modern Greece. What remains "hidden," however, is the character development necessary to understand the motivation underlying the antisocial behavior of Hill's protagonists. Effective marketing to book groups may encourage readers to give it a go, but it's not essential reading.—Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL\
Kirkus Reviews
Ancient and modern Greece meet in this ambitious, slow-paced story of an archaeological dig whose members have a hidden agenda. Hill (The Love of Stones, 2001, etc.) uses as his viewpoint character a 25-year-old archaeologist. Ben Mercer, a postgraduate teacher/student, has spent the last seven years at Oxford. While there, the Englishman married foreign-born Emine; they had one child, Vanessa, before Emine divorced him. Ben still loves his ex-wife and daughter. Feeling like an abject failure he runs off to Greece with no clear goal and finds work at a meat grill in an Athens suburb. He hears of a dig outside Sparta and is hired to join a ragtag bunch of "shovelmonkeys" working for an American director. A core group of five appears to have a secret they refuse to share with their director or Ben. In this they are no different from the original Spartans, who thrived on secrecy while terrorizing their helots. We learn this from cogent academic notes interpolated through a narrative that constantly draws parallels. "We're the real Spartans now," says one shovelmonkey. Ben, whose greatest need is for camaraderie, feels increasingly frustrated, though he finds relief (rather too easily) in the arms of Japanese Natsuko. Readers will also be frustrated. The talented Hill is fizzing with ideas, but they're only half-executed. Why doesn't the collapse of Ben's marriage get fuller treatment? Why is Max, the ringleader of a complicated scheme, kept in the background? The account of group dynamics meanders on until Ben is let into the club and learns the secret. It's shocking but quite far-fetched and comes way too late. Just as disappointing, Ben gains no insight into the source of his recurrentanger; in the end, he's still running from himself. Hill's grasp of history is more impressive than his hold on his characters.
The Independent on Sunday
“Hill keeps the tension building to a climax which features the most unpleasant final image I’ve come across in a long time. Quite brilliant.”
The Observer
“Apart from everything else that this novel is a beautifully paced thriller, a meditation on loss, guilt, obsession...it is also one of the finest novels written so far about this, our age of terror.”
Marie Claire (UK)
“[An] elegant, sinister novel…Grippingly good.”
The Guardian
“The ingenious plot twists of THE HIDDEN are satisfying to follow, and the book’s constant sifting of the present through the past is done with admirable intelligence. But what lingers more than anything are these quick, sure, playfully notational passages. You don’t often see writing as lively as this.”
New York Times Book Review
“[A] high-stakes, propulsive narrative. . . . The novel’s ideas are explored with stylish rigor and a rare boldness made all the more powerful by its surprising lyricism.
Daily Telegraph (London)
“[T]his is a wonderful novel: elegant yet savage, restrained yet full-throttled, illuminated by the sort of brilliance that leaves you short of breath.”
The Independenton Sunday
"Hill keeps the tension building to a climax which features the most unpleasant final image I’ve come across in a long time. Quite brilliant."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594434849
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Pages: 353
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tobias Hill's collection of short stories, Skin (1997), won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award, and he has twice been short-listed for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. The author of The Love of Stones, Hill is the Royal Society of Literature Fellow at Sussex University and lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    To:this is an excitong thriller

    Hi are you talking out metimorphosis the booka the series of humans turning into morphs?

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2014

    So much for a "bargain!"

    Pages 40 - 42 are missing!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2014

    Recommend

    I read the first book in the series free on my Nook and decided I had to read the rest of the books as well. Good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    I am a mystery book reader thats the ony ones will read.Reaaly liked them most interesting, will read more when they are available

    recommend this to everyone who likes good mysteries

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2014

    Great forensic series, this was my fave so far now onto the next

    Great forensic series, this was my fave so far now onto the next book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting thriller

    In Metamorphosis, Greece in 2004 former Oxford student Ben Mercer feels his life is over as his marriage is dead and he works at a dead end meat grill restaurant with no future beyond serving diners since his Ancient Sparta thesis is dead just not interred yet. He admires the courage of the visiting five archeologists who fearlessly dig for what they want while he mopes and serves food. One of his heroes who he knew in England, Oxford Professor Eberhard Saurer tells Ben he is going on an excavation in Laconia where they hope to uncover Spartan ruins; when Ben pleads to join him, Eberhard just leaves.

    Unable to resist, Ben follows Eberhard to Laconia called Lacedaemonia by the ancient Spartans who left little behind except mystery as to how so few controlled so many "Helot" slaves. Eberhard and his colleagues (Jason, Natsuko, Eleshchen and Max) perform one of the ancient Spartan rituals of the death hunt while emitting a superiority cockiness that Ben admires and would like to emulate if he was not so afraid. He soon learns of the Crypteia Hidden Ones' fanaticism killing the helots like hunters stalking game and fears he may be the modern day game of the predatory fearsome five.

    This is an exciting thriller that looks deeply into the amoral behavior of terrorists using an ethical cloak to defend their murderous beliefs. By bringing Sparta into focus in terms of terrorizing their neighbors through mechanisms like the Hidden hunt of the Helot and comparing this group to modern times using the five archeologists, Tobias Hill provides a profound look at a predator's mindset, in the past and present. Although the flashbacks into Ben's past enhance understanding of him, that track distracts from the bigger theme of how a stalker rationalizes in secret to him or her self the kill of the innocent.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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