A heart-breaking love story set during the turbulent years leading to WWII and the Nazi occupation of Greece.

The Black Earth By Philip Kazan
Hardback | Allison & Busby | 19 April 2018 | £14.99

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1922. When the Turkish Army occupies Smyrna, Zoë Haggitiris escapes with her family, only to lose everything. Alone in a sea of desperate strangers, her life is touched, for a moment, by a young English boy, Tom Collyer, also lost, before the compassion of a stranger leads her into a new life.

Years later when war breaks out, Tom finds himself in Greece and in the chaos of the British retreat, fate will lead him back to Zoë. But he will discover that the war will not end so easily for either of them.

Talking points:

  • Kazan draws upon fascinating family history, including his grandfather, a British army officer who served in Greece in 1941, as well as his Greek grandmother and cousins who were migrants and refugees in the period. Zoë is based on Philip’s grandfather’s cousin.
  • Greek Civil War – not widely written about, even in Greece. Kazan writers about Dekemvriana, the December Events, where the British triggered the Civil War by taking sides with ex-Nazi collaborators and royalists against the Soviet-leaning resistance.
  • Inherited trauma – Philip’s grandfather served in WW1 and in Greece in WW2 and the impact of his experiences were felt by his son and grandson

About Philip Kazan

Philip Kazan was born in London and grew up on Dartmoor in south west England. He has written two novels set in Fifteenth Century Florence: Appetite, about the adventures of an early celebrity chef and The Painter Of Souls, an imagining of the early career of the artist Fra Filippo Lippi, which the Daily Mail called 'an irresistible feast of painting and quattrocento Italy, beautifully written and magnificently researched... a sheer pleasure from start to finish'.

As Pip Vaughan-Hughes, he also wrote the Petroc series - Relics, Vault Of Bones, Painted In Blood and The Fools' Crusade - about a relic smuggler in Thirteenth Century Europe. After living in New York and Vermont, Philip is back on the edge of Dartmoor with his wife and three children.

philipkazan.wordpress.com / @pipkazan / #TheBlackEarth