Friday, October 10, 2014

A Philosophical Quest and a Love Story

In ancient Greece, a young man, the philosopher Plato, travels to Italy because his friend Agathon tells him that he has discovered great truths. Plato is eager to see Agathon, but he has misgivings about the sea journey. His misgivings seem well founded when his ship founders and he barely escapes with his life. After recovering, his search for Agathon takes him to Syracuse to the court of Dionysius I and encounters with the ideas of Pythagoras.

Jonah, a rock star, finishes what may be his final gig with his band. He's so eager to see his wife, Lily, an archaeologist, that he travels practically non-stop from Germany to Italy. When he arrives, Lily has disappeared. This begins his quest to find his wife and rescue her. He is stymied at every turn by people, her Oxford friends, who lie to him and her mother and sister who think he's overreacting.

The combination of a historical novel with a modern thriller is an interesting juxtaposition. Plato and Jonah are following parallel paths but more than 2,000 years apart. Plato's is a quest for knowledge; Jonah's, a search for the love of his life. I found the historical storyline more fascinating than the love story. The premise of the historical portion is that Plato had an experience during his travels that changed him from a mediocre follower of Socrates to one of the world's greatest philosophers.

If you like a romantic thriller, the Jonah/Lily chapters may be more to your taste. My problem with Jonah was that his angst about his loss of his love became tiresome. However, his search increased the pace of the plot.

If you have more than a passing acquaintance with philosophy, you may feel you've found old friends. I also enjoyed the modern interpretation of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in the characters of Jonah and Lily. Altogether it was a satisfying book.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.