Book Review of ANTIOCH by Gregory Ness … “… gripping, beautifully written and highly insightful.”
Antioch, by Gregory Ness is a masterful piece of writing. I had the opportunity to read an earlier version of this book published in 2014. I considered it a good book at that reading, but now, having just read the 2016 edition, I rate this book as excellent! Without spoiling this beautifully done story, it takes us back and forth between the present, which is some years ahead of contemporary times, and thousands of years into the past, and then rolls us back and forth in an ever-consuming tale between now and then. The detail and imagery laced into the text about ancient Rome and Egypt, as well as Persia and Turkey, and their cultures and people, animates them, as if the reader is walking the stony streets of Alexandria. There is a beautiful love story which transcends time, depiction of brutal wars and great power struggles between Rome, Egypt and others – and the perspective of how Julius Caesar was, as a man, and a leader, makes the history books seem shallow in design. But what really makes this story shine is the way the author draws us into the world of our memories, of past lives we have lived, and the scientific dialogues and intrigue which are unfolding in the now, and how, all of this ties into the grand story which we are reliving thousands of years before when Pharaohs were the most powerful rulers on Earth, when Caesar and his armies marched into Egypt and when the infamous Cleopatra had the two most powerful nations of that time, in the palm of her hands. Antioch makes you think about the nature of who we really are, about the veracity of having lived countless past lives, about the scientific import of a tiny organ in our brain – a portal which not only allows us to interact with the world around us, but quite possibly, is also the very link to our immensely distant past. An entertaining, gripping, beautifully written and highly insightful piece of work.