The Patmos Deception
Nick Hennessy, journalist. Carey Mathers, forensic archaeologist. Dimitri Rubinos, tour boat guide/Greek Lothario. What do these three have in common?
At first blush, not much. Nick is eking out an existence as a freelance journalist in Paris after his newspaper’s satellite office closed. Dimitri, whose tour business has suffered the same hits as Greece’s economy, struggles to keep his livelihood afloat and his desperately ill father in medical care. And Carey has just arrived in Athens, after landing the dream job of a lifetime (for a forensic archaeologist, that is). She’s been hired by the illustrious Athens Institute for Antiquities, in the wake of thefts of major Greek treasures and artifacts, to work alongside the Institute’s director to search out the thieves.
As the taxi takes Carey in the pouring rain from the airport into the city, she sees evidence everywhere of the devastation of Greece’s economic woes: gypsies, beggars, boarded-up shops and businesses. When the taxi pulls up at her destination, the Institute, Carey is shocked and appalled to discover that the gates are chained shut with Greek notices tied to them. The building’s first-floor windows are broken and barred, the fountain is empty. And Carey’s job, which she had flown halfway across the world to assume, is apparently no more.
"THE PATMOS DECEPTION intersects the world of John the Apostle and his writings with current-day art thieves and historians, settled into 21st-century Greece and her problems. The stories of Nick, Carey and Dimitri will keep you spellbound until the very last page...and hoping for a sequel."
So what does a doctoral student do when she’s in a foreign country, she can’t speak the local language (and can only read the ancient one), and her promised job has evaporated? Carey is fortunate, for a guardian angel in the form of a young woman from a nearby taverna (or Greek neighborhood restaurant) has seen the whole thing. Elena brings Carey and her luggage into her family’s taverna from out of the rain. She feeds her and explains what has happened to the Athens Institute for Antiquities --- at least the little that she knows. Prior to the Institute’s closing, Elena was the administrative assistant to the Institute’s director. Observing the increasing numbers of art thefts, the director had formed a plan to investigate them and had hired Carey to help. Just as this theft task force was about to begin its work, government authorities shuttered the Institute and closed it down. Carey is left with nothing to do but to find a way forward.
After Nick’s Paris stint with the Dallas Morning News ends with their French office closure and him in Paris without a job, he chases down what he hopes will be interesting stories that he can pitch to other news outlets. He meets Phyllis Karras, assistant director of the UN’s World Heritage Sites, at a chance encounter outside the Paris Sotheby’s. Over coffee she shares tips with him about black market antiquities buyers. Phyllis’ inside information breathes new life into Nick’s writing, and he’s able to stay on in France’s capital.
Now, Karras contacts Nick with the offer of a lifetime --- one that will benefit his career and the UN World Heritage Sites at the same time. It seems that there are high-level thefts of priceless icons, vases and other items of national importance to Greece. Karras’ co-workers and bosses seem concerned, but no one really wants to do anything about it. She is troubled about the possibility of an internal conspiracy, and believes that Nick is just the person to uncover the deception.
Her only concern about using Nick to follow this story is his utter lack of experience in archaeological antiquities. He tells her he knows just the person to help: Carey Mathers, his lifelong friend and forensic archaeology expert. Karras agrees, but warns Nick that this exposé may be not only dangerous but also life-threatening.
Dimitri, on the verge of losing his business, has arranged for the sale of his ship’s valuable berth to his despised, albeit wealthy, competitor. But at the last moment, help comes from an unexpected direction: a Scot who’s willing to hire Dimitri, and his boat, for an incredible money-making opportunity that will save his business and provide for his ailing father. The only problem? He’s being hired to smuggle.
Dimitri, Nick and Carey delve into the dangerous world of artifact and treasure thefts and conspiracies. What they discover along the way will impact their lives, their freedom, and, for two of them, their relationship with a God they had ignored for most of their lives. Both men are deeply drawn to Carey, her vibrant life, and her faith in God. Will the three survive the perils ahead? Will a great treasure of the Christian church be lost? And last but not least, will Carey choose Nick or Dimitri?
Davis Bunn’s THE PATMOS DECEPTION intersects the world of John the Apostle and his writings with current-day art thieves and historians, settled into 21st-century Greece and her problems. The stories of Nick, Carey and Dimitri will keep you spellbound until the very last page…and hoping for a sequel.
Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on November 24, 2014