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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 04/2021
  • 9789998785809 B091FDDKTV
  • 360 pages
  • $2.99
Stefanos Livos
Author
The Island of the Righteous

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

A dying man's last breaths point toward a tantalizing treasure and the answers to a shattered family's past.

1941, the island of Zante, Greece. Pantelis Kokinis and his family live under the dark cloud of Italian occupation. As the horrors of the war draw nearer, reality for the Kokinis family grows more and more fraught. Long-held secrets, raw emotions, and the fear of what’s coming leave them scrambling to hold their emotions in check and their family together.

When Pantelis meets Violeta Dalmedikos, the beautiful daughter of a prominent local Jewish family, he is instantly smitten. Unfortunately, love between a Christian and a Jew is strictly forbidden.

In 1943, the German commander demands a list with all the Jewish residents of the island. The Mayor and the Christian bishop hand in a list with only two names: theirs. Overnight, the Jewish population goes into hiding as Christian Zantiots make a great sacrifice. Pantelis and Violeta come closer, and a medieval treasure suddenly vanishes.

80 years later, Pantelis’ grandson is looking for the treasure. What he unearths is a shipwreck, a manslaughter, and a truth he never expected.

The Island of the Righteous is a gripping novel by Greek author Stefanos Livos. It expertly weaves the past and present. With evocative depictions of a shattered family’s secrets and a love that never died, this poignant story is set against the backdrop of modern Greece’s rocky history.

Reviews
Livos (A Life in a Moment)’s historical treasure hunt switches between the present and World War II-era Greece as a grandson seeks to uncover his grandfather’s legacy. When his grandfather and namesake dies, 28-year-old Pantelis recalls how his grandfather Pantelis Kokkinis twice spoke to him of a hidden treasure. As he unearths it on the island of Zante, the younger Pantelis is surprised at the contents of the treasure box: notes like part of a diary. In a parallel narrative, set on Zante during the World War II occupation by Italian forces, the elder Pantelis Kokkinis meets and falls in love with Violetta Dalmedikos, a Jewish woman. Though marriage between Christians and Jews is forbidden, Pantelis and Violetta embark on a love affair, determined to be together despite the risk of discovery. The grandson learns more about his grandfather as his Aunt Elpida details key events of the past, revealing tragedies, secrets, and the resilience of the Kokkinis family during the occupation and civil war.

Livos adds extensive historical detail to the narrative, highlighting the different governmental factions at play before and during the second World War, when Greece was occupied by Italian and German forces. While that detail provides helpful and informative, adding context, at times its extensiveness slows down the storytelling. A family tree tracing the characters’ lineage provides a helpful reference, though readers may still face some confusion, as a number of characters share identical or quite similar names. The frequent use of pronouns without clear antecedents reduces clarity, forcing readers to rely on context to determine the identity of the person referenced.

That occasional challenge, however, does not greatly detract from the impact of a novel that is enhanced by well-developed, realistic characters and an engaging, intense depiction of life in an occupied country. Readers with an interest in Greece and its history will appreciate the convincing milieu and the magnetic story of Violetta and Pantelis.

Takeaway: A grandfather’s hidden treasure reveals gripping secrets about his family history in occupied Greece.

Great for fans of: Glenway Wescott’s Apartment in Athens, Stratis Haviaras’s When the Tree Sings.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 04/2021
  • 9789998785809 B091FDDKTV
  • 360 pages
  • $2.99

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