Author – William Azuski
Author's website link -
Genre or category – metaphysical mystery/psychological thriller/literary fiction
Reviewed by archaeologist and historian Haighleagh Winslade for Travels in Elysium
A Story of Archaeology and Greek Culture That I Could Not Put Down
I started reading Travels in Elysium by William Azuski on a cold and wet spring day it proved to be the perfect tonic for such a dismal day. Travels in Elysium is the story of former student Nicholas Pedrosa who lands a position as assistant to archaeologist Marcus Huxley on Huxley's excavations of the lost settlement on the Greek island of Santorini (Thera) destroyed by the colossal eruption that occurred c. 3600 years ago during the time of the Minoan civilization.
Mr Azuski is a master at setting the scene and placing the characters and action in the landscape. After describing Nicholas Pedrosa's journey across Europe and the graphic account of the treacherous storm that blew up as the ship that he was travelling in crossed the Aegean Sea, on landing on Santorini the other main characters are introduced when Nicholas Pedrosa becomes entangled in the funeral procession of Benjamin Randal his predecessor who died on the excavation in mysterious circumstances. The funeral also provides the opportunity to introduce one of the main themes in the novel that of the Grecian burial rite of placing a silver coin in the mouth of the deceased to pay the boatman Charon for their journey across the river Styx to the afterlife.
The narrative of the excavation is cleverly entwined with the mythology of the afterlife and there is a good twist in the plot. Without giving anything away my favourite scene was where Nicholas Pedrosa is in Charon's boat and his barrage of questions and remarks to Charon about the journey across the Styx results in Charon pushing Pedrosa from his boat into the river! All in all an excellent book which I could not put down and a recommended read for anyone interested in Greek culture!
— Archaeologist and historian Haighleagh Winslade
‘Then chalk it up to experience, Mr Pedrosa. Trust no one. Believe no one. Question everything. Remember, there is nothing here you can take at face value... No — not even yourself.’
An island that blew apart with the force of 100,000 atomic bombs... A civilisation prised out of the ash, its exquisite frescoes bearing a haunting resemblance to Plato’s lost island paradise, Atlantis... An archaeologist on a collision course with a brutal police state... A death that may have been murder... And a string of inexplicable events entwining past and present with bewildering intensity... Can this ancient conundrum be understood before it engulfs them all?