GHOST OF THE SUN by Harry Mark Petrakis


Email this review


Petrakis' lively if overexuberant ninth novel--hovering somewhere between ethnic realism and romantic fable--brings back Zorba-like Leonidas Matsoukas (A Dream of Kings, 1966), who's now returning to America after five years in a Greek prison. Matsoukas--husband/father/philanderer/gambler/fighter--flew off to Greece at the end of a Dream of Kings because he thought ""the resurrective fire of the Aegean sun"" might cure his sick son; but the boy died, and Matsoukas was thrown into prison, where he was tortured as a traitor. All of this is summarized in the sequel here, which begins as Matsoukas returns to Chicago and discovers that his wife Caliope (presuming he had died or deserted her) has married Sophocles Gravoulis, a Greek-American businessman. Sophocles treats Matsoukas like a hero, and, of course, that's how Petrakis treats him. He becomes a father-figure to Debbie, a single mother, and moves in with her, a cozy domestic arrangement; then he contacts his grown daughters--one of whom, Hope, is in the old man's mold (""Like you, Papa, I want to be free""). Eventually, Matsoukas goes to work for Sophocles, becomes a vice-president, and snares a big commission. He also tracks down Farmakis, his Greek torturer, who now lives in the States, but spares him because the once-sadistic man is also a father. Meanwhile, however, the irrepressible Matsoukas (""there is a giant in each of us"") is still in love with Caliope--and wouldn't you know it? Caliope still loves him too. They'll end up happy ever after--or at least until the next installment. A little hard to take at times--particularly in its sometimes sappy celebration of Matsoukas as the embodiment of the Greek spirit--but incident-rifled enough to satisfy Petrakis fans.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's