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The Quest

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299 pages4 hours

Summary

The Quest is the story about a young boy's dream of someday returning to his family's home on the island of Crete. Pericles grew up listening to his grandfather tell stories of the Greek myths and life in the family's former home. His family had come to live in Romania before Pericles was born but he is determined that someday he will go back to Crete himself.

By the time Pericles is old enough to embark on his quest, Romania is in Communist hands and it is impossible to leave the country. Determined, Pericles travels on foot, alone through the mountains. Eventually he arrives in Greece, but life there isn't what he expected. The country is under a dictatorship. The people of Greece are impoverished and disillusioned. Pericles makes his way by boat to Crete, but life there isn't as carefree as his grandfather had described. The people are suspicious and wary of strangers. What is most surprising is the shocking revelation that he learns about his grandfather. Disappointed but undeterred, Pericles leaves Crete, setting off on a new quest to make a better life for himself.

These days, the stories of refugees crossing borders in search of a better, safer life make Pericles' quest all too familiar.

In the turbulent 1960s, a young Greek-Romanian longs to escape the iron grip of communism and connect with his roots on the island of Crete. Fascinated since childhood by his grandfather's tales of Greek heroism, Pericles sets out on a dangerous quest to return to his homeland. Can he evade the authorities, survive the dangers of the road, and make it safely – alone and on foot – through the dark realities of Cold War Eastern Europe to the warmth and freedom of his Aegean island paradise? And more challenging still, can he find – in a Greece transformed since his grandfather's time by Nazi occupation, civil war, and military dictatorship – the romantic virtues and erotic glory promised by the enigmatic old man? What secrets has the old man hidden from his idealistic grandson? What deeper dangers await young Pericles in his mysterious home village?

~ John McAllister, PhD, Department of English, University of Botswana, Editorial Consultant, Vancouver, BC.

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