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)
A cracking thriller.
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.
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.
An act of great daring, pulled off to perfection....Thoughtful, thought-provoking and intelligent: mind-blowingly good.
There is food here for mind, sense, and heart. It is exceedingly high-class entertainment.
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.
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.