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Richard DyerThe Plato Papers' is a serious divertissement, a brilliant fabulation that is the product of a playful, engaged, and well-stocked mind.
— Boston Globe
But Ackroyd endows Plato with several intriguing complexities, including, literally a Soul with whom he converses. He senses that many of his historical judgements are mistaken and asks his Soul to tell him what it was really like. Soul refuses: "I am not permitted to dwell on such things. You are becoming. I am being. There is a difference."
Plato's lonely quest for the truth involves some tricky time travelling that takes him back to London during the Mouldwarp era. [The present day.] (Those familiar with Plato's Republic will note with interest that the destination of this journey is a vast cave.) The tales Plato tells on his return do not sit well with the governing authorities, and meets a Socratic fate, put on trial for corrupting the young. By this point, Ackroyd's lively tale has shaded into an invigorating meditation on the changelessness, after no matter how many eons, of human nature and uneasiness with the familiar.