In 1955, archaeologist Benedict Hitchens is searching for proof that Achilles, a hero from the Trojan War legends, was a real person and not just a myth in Homer’s Iliad and other interpretations of the Trojan War myth cycle. This is the main crux for the novel, despite there being no evidence to suggest Achilles existed. This makes for a very compelling story about the intersection of mythology, history and archaeology (especially given that in ancient history, archaeological remains can be what tell us the most about a society, given that written records may be fragmented or influenced by myth).
Living a lonely existence on archaeological digs across the peninsular that was home to the Trojans and the islands of Greece, such as Crete, where the Minoan and Mycenean civilisations thrived, Ben has become obsessed with proving the existence of Achilles. This obsession deepens when he stumbles across the mysterious Eris, travelling home to Turkey. Eris reveals a cache of hidden treasures and archaeological finds that are linked to the period of history Ben is obsessed with. Ben hopes this discovery will lead him to Achilles and, in the aftermath of his fall from grace as an archaeologist, he hopes the discovery will restore his reputation. Between Eris and her secrets, and Ben’s disconnection from the archaeological community, this mystery is filled with thrills; the flawed characters are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their ultimate goals.
It is a novel where history and mythology intersect, and where relationships seem doomed from the beginning – whatever these relationships may be. It is the history, archaeology and mythology, the world of archaeological forgeries and thievery that are the most important aspects of the novel. These aspects were very well executed, ending with the promise, hopefully, of more adventures to come.