Author: A. K. Patch

Publisher: Pedaceum Press

ISBN-13: 978-0--9908724-0-5

                                A Compelling Tour de Force

The above title is quite appropriate for this book. Once the action begins, one is sitting on the edge of one’s chair, loath to put the book down. This book would make a very successful film as it deals with a lot of historical events that actually did take place. It is also the first in a series of books by the author called the Apollo series.

The basic question this book deals with is travel back in time for a specific purpose. Which is: applying the life lessons learnt in the present day, to a time long ago and change the course of history. This is done by sowing seeds of oneness and brotherhood instead of separation in earlier times, so that our world would be better able to grapple with problems arising out of the growing alienation and apathy born out of twentieth century self-centredness and hubris.

The entity responsible for supervising the operation of backward time travel for the main protagonists of this novel is none other than the sun god Apollo. Knowing of the imminent destruction of our planet that is in store for the human race on account of their selfish mores, he chooses a pair of history professors called Zack and Lauren Fletcher, both of whom have specialized in Greek history to carry out his plans.

One man or one woman, suitably motivated and suitably trained can make a difference.”

Not knowing about Apollo’s plans for them, Lauren wants a child with Zack. But Zack has plans of joining an archaeology project in Greece with a Professor Popandreou and manages to get Lauren to travel with him. The Fletchers arrive at Delphi, the site of the famous Oracle after a few adventures, and are unknowingly sucked into 480 B.C. which was just before Xerxes’ Persian army invaded Greece.

Apollo follows his chosen wards closely and even meets them on important occasions as the story unfolds. Lauren and Zach get to meet one of the foremost heroes of the time, for instance, King Leonidas of the Spartan army. To be able to do this had been Zach’s dream and while the armies fought, he and Lauren attended to the wounded. Later, Zach and Lauren get separated and are briefly reunited before being put on separate tracks, more commensurate with the needs of the time.

The study of a modern pair of history professors in an ancient Greek milieu has been depicted  very skillfully. So has the dramatization of the historic Battle of Thermopylae where the Spartans were pitted against the Persians and died to the last man and where Zach and Lauren fit in as extras. However, later on, when the main characters return to their own time, the suspense builds up to a crescendo, only to fall flat in a lack of authenticity and conviction. All of Apollo’s interventions and strategies cannot be glorified a hundred per cent as the initial stages of the novel had led us to believe.

Apart from the ending, the novel is extremely well written. It provides a lot of historical info, doing so in the best possible way, viz., seeing historical characters interact with people of our own time, quite like a dose of quinine in  a spoonful of honey. The action is fast paced and the loose threads of the narrative tie together well.

Warmly recommended to all who like their history drenched with a spoonful of storytelling honey.