Thirty-one years after masterful storyteller and prolific author Harry Mark Petrakis wrote the historical novel The Hour of the Bell—set in the first year of Greece's war of independence from the Turkish Empire—he now carries the narrative forward in his newest work, The Shepherds of Shadows. With this powerful sequel, Petrakis captures the fury and ferocity of revolution in the country that formed the bedrock of western culture.
Featuring many of the characters who appeared in the earlier book, The Shepherds of Shadows depicts the horrors of war in battle scenes that echo the visceral starkness of conflict found in Homer's Iliad. The novel also includes a vivid portrayal of Lord Byron, who, through his poetry, supported the cause of Greece's fight for independence inspiring the world to provide aid and volunteers for the struggle. Byron himself traveled to Greece to join the war for liberation.
Woven through the tapestry of war are stories of the love of a young guerilla fighter for a Greek girl and her child, born of a brutal rape, as well as the love of the scribe, Xanthos, for a village woman widowed by the war. There are lyrical descriptions of a village wedding and of the rituals of a village funeral. And always there is the mystical, overpowering presence of the Greek landscape and its majestic past blending reality and myth, as Petrakis creates a modern epic based on one of the most savage yet least known conflicts in European history.