Two (very different) books by Valerio Massimo Manfredi.
The book: The Oracle, by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
The edition: Italian (original) paperback edition by Mondadori, 350 pages
Synopsis: during the night of November 17, 1973, archaeologist Periklis Harvatis digs a splendid golden vase engraved with images of Odisseus’ final voyage as prophesied by Tiresias; he brings the vase to Athens and suddenly dies shortly after. During the same night, a student insurrection staged at the University is crushed with much bloodshed. Harvatis’ student Claudio Setti is also arrested with his lover Heleni, who does not survive, and their friends are involved in several ways. Ten years later, the time has come for revenge — or at least for a series of gruesome deaths.
My thoughts: while this book reminded me of The Da Vinci Code and Foucault’s Pendulum (ancient myths and secrets that may rule the real world, that kind of thing), it was a light and enjoyable read. I think that the fact of not knowing whether to expect a scientific or a super-natural solution to all the mysteries added to the fun. It’s not great literature, it’s not a great book, but still fun to read.
What disturbed me: the awful use of commas. It looks like they were added randomly.
What I liked most: the breathable presence of ancient texts. I felt very ignorant, but I liked it all the more (and I’d love to know more about ancient Greek literature).
The book: Spartan, by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
The edition: Italian (original) paperback edition by Mondadori, 331 pages
Synopsis: it would be too long to write one, so read the synopsis on Anobii instead.
My thoughts: after a slow beginning, this too is a good, light and enjoyable read. If I am not wrong, this should be the first novel Manfredi wrote, and I think it shows, mainly in the historic parts that, at time, read like a schoolbook. Yet the story is passionating, so I gladly kept on reading. Not bad, not bad at all.
What disturbed me: the ending. I think it was unasked for.
What I liked most: the prophecies and mysteries.