Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Passage at Delphi (Book Review)


Passage at Delphi, by A.K. Patch, is historical fiction written with a different spin.  I had the opportunity to read it, at no cost to me, for review purposes.

As always, I'll first give you the official synopsis.  This is from Amazon, and it's somewhat different from the back cover material:
The lives of history and ancient language professors, Lauren and Zack Fletcher, have been upended in ways neither could imagine in this epic adventure tale that takes readers from sunny San Diego to the stunning vistas of ancient and modern day Greece. The Fletchers carry on their academic lives with relative ease but they are splintered by their contention over career goals and starting a family. Now, unbeknownst to them, they’ve been drafted to take part in events that will span millennia and decide the course of mankind’s future. Lauren and Zack have been propelled into an ancient Greek war, forcing them to confront a past that is both familiar and terrifying. To return home, they must overcome warfare on a massive scale, set aside their recent marital discord, and find within themselves the wisdom to navigate treacherous routes of survival. Dreams will be dashed and others realized as Lauren and Zack negotiate a dangerous dance of cultural wonder, calculated risk, and unintended consequences.
Chapter 1 is set in present-day Delphi, Greece, and it sets up what is to happen.  (I was glad that the author included maps of the region, because I didn't know the relative locations in which the story takes place!)  Chapter 2, set in present-day San Diego, California, introduces us to Zack and Lauren.  By Chapter 8, through a series of events, the couple is transported to ancient (480 B.C.) Delphi.  That's the setting for much of the storyline.

The copyright page describes the book this way:
This is a work of fiction based on actual persons in historical context.  Other names, characters, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner.
Most of the historical fiction I've read doesn't include real persons interacting with fictional characters.  Most also doesn't include time travel, and Passage at Delphi uses time travel both backward and forward.

It's a secular book, and it contains some some profanity, rough language, and uses of the name of God in vain.  The occurrences aren't frequent, maybe once every five or ten pages.  You can decide whether that's acceptable for you or not.

Thoughts and observations:  
  • This was one of those "Just one more chapter before I turn out the light" books for me.  (And then, because some of the chapters are very short, "Okay, one more!")  
  • I didn't know the history, but narration and dialogue filled that in.  I didn't love the way the main characters seemed to explain ancient history to each other.  They both knew it, so wouldn't have had to spell it out; however, it serves to inform the reader.
  • While Greek mythology isn't the main part of the book, the god Apollo is a central character in the story.
  • The major theme is foreshadowed in the preface with a reference to a virtue carved into the forecourt of Apollo's temple at Delphi:  "Know Thyself."  Zack and Lauren encounter many situations that force them to be tested, to uncover their core beliefs, and to make choices about what really matters.
  • The ending begs for a sequel.  No surprise, since this is Book I of the author's Apollo Series.
Links for more information:
* If you click through my Amazon affiliate link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thanks!


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