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Dying PhoenixDying Phoenix

Loretta Proctor

  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Family Drama

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Why I wrote this book

The story takes place during the years 1966/67 when I returned to Greece for the first time since I was a small child.  Though I was aware of the coup having taken place just before the second visit in May 1967 and knew it affected my uncle's job and life, I didn't take in too much.  I was young, having fun and on the surface all seemed pretty normal.  It was later that I began to understand just how terrible was the repressive nature of the military regime for those who dared to voice any kind of protest.  There are regimes like this still here with us today and this story sets out to give some idea of how ordinary people are affected and families torn apart. 
Dying Phoenix is a sequel to my very first published book, The Long Shadow, which was set in Greece during World War One and afterwards.  Both these books are dear to my heart because I explore the dichotomy of belonging to two quite different cultures through them and the characters involved.  I have re-lived some of those first experiences in Greece in writing about them when all was new, thrilling, exciting to my English side.  The story is about an English man and a Greek woman.  My parents calling from within my soul?


During 1966, after some years of happy marriage, Nina and Max Hammett separate due to a jealous quarrel. In despair over his Greek wife's unforgiving attitude, Max makes for Thessaloniki, Greece where he is to take part in the yearly International Trade Fair.  Nina meanwhile takes on a role as a journalist for her cousin's newspaper and returns to Greece on business.  She and Max reunite under troubled and dangerous circumstances. 
A totally unexpected military coup in April 1967 throws Greece into turmoil. People vanish amid terrified rumours of torture and murder. As these events unravel, so does their fragile marriage. Nina Hammett doesn't trust her husband Max, and leaves him once more in a jealous rage. 
But the truth of the matter is that Max was trying to help an abused woman escape her tormentor, not taking her to his bed as Nina imagines.  Young, flighty Zoe's pathetic angst puts Max in terrible danger from a ruthless murderer. He must also try to find his wife, who has disappeared into the shadowy depths of Athens. He knows her wilful nature, along with her refusal to cater to the military, could get her killed. Hearing that she is in danger, he sets off on a journey across Greece to find her and to escape his own past . . . 


Mary Cade writer of The Bermondsey Grail:

Dying Phoenix comes from the writer's soul. A different level of intensity, because on an epic scale. The characters.... I'm speechless, they are so real and full of all the contradictions and fallabillity that plagues the highest idealist. Wonderful how the author gives all sides of the story, the believers in democracy and freedom, the believers in right wingedness and repression and Dimitrios, ah, he and his family and the prostitute and his thoughts are so wonderful. ALL the families are wonderful, so real and different and individual. And Greece. Greece is a living presence. The descriptions of Greece. The love for Greece. The poetry at the beginning and half way through. There is so much pain for Greece, so reflective and relevant now. A universal message. And Nina waking up as the tanks rumbled in. That whole night scene. What a book!


About the Author

Loretta Proctor Loretta Proctor was born in Cairo, Egypt to an English father and Greek mother. She won prizes in the 1970’s for essays and plays, then wrote specialised articles. She studied Freudian, then Jungian, psychology from an earlya ge and did a good deal of counselling work. Now retired with her husband to Malvern, Worcestershire, she delights in story telling, writes poetry and is pleased to be a distant relation of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning.

Loretta Proctor won prizes for stories and plays in the 1970s, but put writing aside for many years. Now back to writing novels, her first book, The Long Shadow, was published in 2005. Her own interest in painting and a lifelong fascination with Pre-Raphaelite artworks led to her writing The Crimson Bed.

Loretta compares her books to those by Sarah Waters, Ruth Rendell and Tracy Chevalier.

Book info

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352 pages


Loretta Proctor


Matador an imprint of Troubador Publishing

Publication date

3rd February 2014

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