The different Greek families are affectionately portrayed, so real and individual that by the end of the book I felt that I knew them. And Greece. Greece is a living presence. The descriptions of Greece. The love for Greece. I loved the poetry the author has included in the book. There is so much pain for Greece, so reflective and relevant, particularly at the moment. A universal message.
The coup is expertly described. We experience one of the characters waking up as the tanks rumble into Athens then going out onto the streets to investigate. Dying Phoenix also stands as a salute to the courage of the idealists in the face of terrible repression and cruelty. The rape and torture is shocking, a secret horror that is ongoing as normal life continues for many Greek citizens.
At the centre of this book is the complicated love story of Max and Nina. This is a very different kind of marriage, both characters change and evolve throughout the book and we are never sure what will happen next. I found the last part of 'Dying Phoenix' beautiful and inspirational. The author manages to combine the essence of romantic love with love for the spirit of Greece. What a book! My only complaint is that it finished too soon. MUCH too soon.