Within the dark heart of an abandoned city, on an island once torn by betrayal and war, lies a terrible secret…
Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…
The book opens with the narrator attending the funeral of his old tutor and friend Francis Benthem. Benthem had come to Cyprus some years before and they had lost touch over the years but he still regarded him as a father-figure, a mentor of his formative years as an artist. It was a curious funeral and our narrator, whose name we never learn, wonders about Benthems death and the life he lived in Cyprus. Who is Illy Prostakov and what was the work Benthem did for him?
Our narrator is curious, some might say too curious for his own good! As we follow him around Cyprus, meeting a variety of strange and fascinating souls in a variety of weird and wonderful places our curiosity equally draws us in.
For a short novel, there’s just 155 pages, it packs in plenty of mystery and given that the language and plot has to be tight you do not feel rushed. This literary thriller is somewhat dark but there is nothing graphic with much of the action coming toward the end of the book. And what an ending it is, nicely done!
Cyprus is splendidly brought to life and we get a real sense of history, culture and setting. I really enjoyed this element of the book. We learn who the ‘Golden Orphans’ are and their origin. The descriptive narration truly enhances the mystery and tension, evoking a real sense of disquiet throughout the book.
Blog tours are such fun as they bring books to your attention that you might not otherwise have come across and so you are able to enjoy different genres or types of genre such as The Golden Orphans. This novel was captivating and for those who like a dark, atmospheric read this book may well be one for you.
My thanks to Gary Raymond and Parthian Books for providing me an e-copy of this book & Emma (#damppebblesblogtours) for inviting me to participate in the blog tour….
Like to find out more about The Golden Orphans ? Then why not take a spin around the rest of these terrific blogs…..
Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review. He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.
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