World War II seen with a 21st-century sensibility. An enthralling, moving and true story of the Nazi occupation of Greece,it reads with the speed of a compelling novel as it sweeps you vividly through the war with unflagging narrative pace. It leaves you with a fresh understanding of the war and of the indomitability of the human spirit. It delivers suspense, endless surprises and twists, sharp characterizations, insights into human nature and the indestructibility of family ties, and a fascinating historical education along the way. Like Bryce Courtenay's THE POWEROF ONE, this book uses a boy's experiences as a way to embed the reader into incidents filled with thought-provoking moral nuance. The gripping story is packed with events from hilarious episodes, described with a child's honesty, through poignant moments to profound terror. The descriptions of wartime menace are frightening but soldiers of all sides, as well as civilians caught up in the drama of the war, are drawn with humanity and compassion. The book unfolds with a fine eye for detail. The rich historical backdrop is painted in an often poetic but always crystal-clear and unpretentious prose, as though the narrator is speaking to you alone. The book opens when Greece is invaded by Italy's dictator, Mussolini. The out numbered Greeks repel the invasion and the boy Evangelos's father is assigned to run a Prisoner of War facility for captured Italians, bringing the child into close contact with the prisoners. Mussolini calls in his ally, Hitler. One day Evangelos's father brings home a Luger pistol confiscated from a captured German. The Luger becomes a symbol of all that follows. Jack boots march through Athens, the swastika rises over the Acropolis, Wehrmacht troops are stationed across the road from Evangelos's home. He befriends German soldiers and learns to see them not just as soldiers but as men. His rooftop gives him a ringside seat of the coming and going of Luftwaffe planes.What he sees and learns and is made to experience, as the German noose grows tighter, makes him grow up more quickly than he had ever dreamed possible. And when the Allies eventually arrive to replace the Germans, their presence turns out to be shockingly different from the liberation that the besieged Greeks had expected. An eye-opening picture of the realities of war and its impacts on ordinary people, including those who never lose hope. Throughout it all, the small boy Evangelos slips through the neighborhood like a mouse, always underfoot, watching events from the unique vantage pointof an ever-present witness. An unforgettable portrait of the heroism dwelling within ordinary people, an eloquent testimony to the power of human endurance, laughter and the will to survive. Suitable for all ages from young adults up. Every age group will find its own layers of meaning. Produced under the auspices of a history-as-literature project guided by experts including veteran Reader's Digest editors.
"This well written book provides us an insight into the origin and meaning of WW2 in Greece.An important example of how the human spirit can survive... Mr. Louizos should be commended for honoring his family and the Greek people... a good addition to The Sword of Zeus Project. -A. Vavoulis Prof. of Chem. at CSU; Former President, Fresno Free College Foundation; founder, KFCF-FM Free Speech radio.
"An extraordinary account of the Axis occupation of Greece." - G. Harocopos, WW2 Historian, author and resistance fighter.