The Orpheus Descent: A Novel

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Overview

The greatest thinker in human history, Plato, travels to Italy seeking initiation into the Orphic mysteries: the secret to the Underworld known only to the gods. But the knowledge he discovers is terrifying.

More than two millennia later, twelve ancient golden tablets secreted in museums around the world hold sacred information known to only a few—the pathway the dead must follow to the afterlife. And archaeologist Lily Barnes has just found another on a dig in southern Italy. ...

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The Orpheus Descent: A Novel

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Overview

The greatest thinker in human history, Plato, travels to Italy seeking initiation into the Orphic mysteries: the secret to the Underworld known only to the gods. But the knowledge he discovers is terrifying.

More than two millennia later, twelve ancient golden tablets secreted in museums around the world hold sacred information known to only a few—the pathway the dead must follow to the afterlife. And archaeologist Lily Barnes has just found another on a dig in southern Italy. But this tablet is far more valuable—and dangerous—than the rest. It holds the key to hell itself.

Now, Lily has vanished, and her husband, Jonah, is desperate to find her. He knows she is alive—and in mortal danger—and he's willing to go to hell to rescue her. But the deeper he descends on this dark and twisting odyssey, the more Jonah's fear rises, for not everyone who travels where Lily has gone will find the way back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/31/2014
This thought-provoking thriller marks a return to form for the talented Harper (The Mosaic of Shadows) after a string of lackluster efforts. In 389 B.C.E., a young Plato, who has left Athens following the forced suicide of his mentor, Pericles, seeks Agathon, the most brilliant of Pericles’s students, who claims to have found a valuable book of Pythagorean wisdom and has wondrous discoveries to share. Plato’s quest for someone who, bafflingly, keeps staying one step ahead of him, parallels Jonah Barnes’s present-day search for his archeologist wife, Lily, who vanished from the dig she was working on in Sibari, Italy, after finding a gold tablet. When Jonah finds messages, apparently from Lily, indicating that she wants to be left alone, everyone is ready to write off his concerns, but the absence of direct communication keeps Jonah suspicious. Along the way to a resolution of both suspenseful plotlines, Harper explores the fitness of philosophers as rulers, besides presenting a convincing portrait of Plato’s time. (May)
Booklist
“This exciting, fast-paced thriller boasts some well-drawn characters, an involving plot, and some seriously interesting speculation about the nature of hell. . . . It’s an ambitious book, and fans of the author’s previous, history-based thrillers will have a great time.”
Suspense Magazine
“A historical thrill ride. . . . The history and mystery move forward like a bullet out of a gun. . . . The research of ancient Greece is stunning and in-depth, and the marvelous characters, both present day and long ago, are enticing.”
The Sun (London)
“A cracking thriller.”
Jake Kerridge
“This is a sort of Platonic ideal of the kind of book Dan Brown attempts to write—a pacy, preposterous Indiana Jones-esque thriller, but with prose that sparkles, jokes that amuse and characters that resemble human beings.”
Barry Forshaw
“Tom Harper has been writing elaborate thrillers that marry ironclad narrative skills with some of the most elegantly understated writing in the field; he’s the thinking person’s Dan Brown. Actually, Harper deserves the latter’s success—and more, as Harper is comfortably the better writer.”
Manda Scott
“An act of great daring, pulled off to perfection....Thoughtful, thought-provoking and intelligent: mind-blowingly good.”
N.J. Cooper
“There is food here for mind, sense, and heart. It is exceedingly high-class entertainment.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062305282
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/27/2014
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 413,039
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Harper has written eleven historical thrillers—including Lost Temple and Secrets of the Dead—which have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in York, England, with his wife and two sons.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2015

    Ok

    This turned out to be a little too
    cerebral for me.. it tends to drag a bit..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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