Published: 03/02/2014
ISBN: 9781783062874
Format: Paperback

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I was born in Cairo, Egypt and came to Britain during a very cold winter. Quite a contrast to the heat of Cairo and my first ever view of snow! My father was from England and met my mother in Athens,... read more

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Dying Phoenix
by Loretta Proctor

“Are you seeking a divorce?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t want it. I hate the idea of divorce. But it’s hopeless. In the end there was no trust. I know he loves me... loved me, anyway. He had a stupid affair, promised it would never happen again... but how can I believe that? Once is enough for me.”

Dying Phoenix is set against a background of fear and torture, under a military dictatorship in Greece. Tumultous couple Max and Nina Hammett struggle to preserve a marriage that has become fraught with jealousy and despair.

In April 1967, a totally unexpected military coup throws Greece into turmoil. People vanish amid terrified rumours of torture and murder. As these events unravel, so does Nina and Max’s marriage. Nina doesn’t trust Max, and leaves him 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 angst puts Max in terrible danger from a ruthless murderer. At the same time, he must also try to find Nina, who has disappeared into the shadowy depths of Athens. He knows that 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...

Dying Phoenix is a thrilling historical romance that covers an interesting, little-known period of modern Greek history, and lends an insight into ordinary Greek lives. The book will appeal to fans of literary fiction, sagas and romantic suspense – as well as fans of Loretta’s earlier novels, The Crimson Bed, Middle Watch and The Long Shadow.

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The Long Shadow is to be translated and published by in autumn 2014

Reviews for Dying Phoenix

The Dying Phoenix is a very worthy sequel to Loretta Proctor's The Long Shadow. I am pleased I read them in the 'right' order, as, knowing what I knew already about Nina's spirited parents and grandparents, I was keen to find out how life would treat her.
Richard Devereux

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.

The details of life in late nineteen sixties London and Greece add another layer of depth to the writing. I cannot be a plot spoiler but for me Loretta Proctor's writing reached an extra powerful level in the scenes in the garage in Thessaloniki. Amazing passion and intensity.
Mary Cade

The talk on my book, The Long Shadow at the American College of Thessaloniki on May 22nd and the creative writing workshop for the students went very well indeed and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The weather was great, the company delightful. I feel very honoured to have been asked as this book is close to my heart.

The new paperback edition of The Long Shadow is now out. It is already available as a Kindle edition on Amazon. Set in Salonika, Greece it tells the little known story of the Eastern campaign, it will be well in time to usher in the centenary of WW1 in 2014

Reviews for The Long Shadow

I have just finished reading this for the second time and know I shall return to it again and again because of its strong, involving characters and the wonderful story they have to tell.

Nothing is more intriguing than a hidden diary, and when Andrew finds his mother's and begins to read it, a dramatic picture of her life in Salonika during the first world war enfolds. Dorothy's love story is touching and beautifully told, yet this is far more than a love story. The sights, smells, triumphs and tragedies of World War One are described so vividly and knowledgably we feel we are experiencing them first hand.

I've now enjoyed several books from the pen of this author, but this is her best yet.

It's a novel to treasure.
Peter McGarry

This has been one of the best books I have ever read. What a beautiful story, wonderful characters, history, adventure. Simply fabulous.
Harry E. Carter

This is not a book about Greece. It not a book about war but it is a book about people, the situations they find themselves in; and above all about their loves. This skilfully crafted novel is in two parts, the first set in England and the second, mainly in Greece. The protagonist is Andrew who is shocked by the revelations in his mother's diary which he secretly reads. He discovers that his father is Greek and he vows to meet him. The second part of the novel shows Andrew in his quest and eventual success. Loretta Proctor, half Greek herself, has a vast knowledge and understanding of 20th century Greek history, especially as it relates to the two world wars and she uses this with great skill as a backdrop to Andrew's story. She brings out the horrors of war in Greece. She writes the diary as if using the language of the day and this gives the mother's account an authenticity and immediacy which is strong and real. I found the book very moving, especially the relationship between Andrew and his father. Being unfamiliar with the history, I found it fascinating, almost a distraction at times! This is a beautiful story and the second of Loretta Proctor's books I have read. It cries out for a sequel!
Gordon Thomas

Middle Watch has as a background the stormy seas and lighthouses around Britain. Researching this was most interesting. Virtually all of the lighthouses are now powered by electricity and no longer manned. The end of an era of interesting men who worked them. Middle Watch is set in the 1950's when the lights were still manned but on the verge of change.
I became fascinated by the life on these lonely places and with the kind of people who took care of these structures with such pride and loving care, thus saving the lives of so many seamen and ships who would have foundered on the rocky coasts.
Bridie's tale is passionate and she is torn by her feeling for the two men in her life. But perhaps Nature is her true love!

The Crimson Bed has a Pre-Raphaelite background and tells of the inner conflicts, secret lives and dramas of two artist friends,and the beautiful women they paint and worship like goddesses. I felt inspired to write a novel in Victorian times after reading some of the works of Sarah Waters. A life-long admirer of Pre-Raphaelite work, I now belong to the Pre-Raphaelite Society which meets in Birmingham. If you haven't yet visited St. Philip's Cathedral in Birmingham,with it's marvellous stained glass windows by Burne Jones, then do go! You are in for a special experience, especially when the light pours through those vivid reds and blues. A different concept of angels altogether,far more passionate and fiery!
Recently I visited the John Waterhouse exhibition at The Royal Academy. One of his lesser known pictures will feature on my book cover. The picture here shows the original with the skull which was later painted out in the 1950's. The cover on my book shows the painted out image taken by Christie's when the painting came up for sale much later on. The original is now in a private collection in Mexico.
For more on this strange story of the painting take a look at my website.

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And drop in and take a look at my blog: It's all Greek for Me
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