Monday, August 22, 2005
The Mirror of Diana by A. R. Homer: "To all the treasures lost in war' reads the dedication of The Mirror of Diana, a novel that has as its centerpiece a major, yet little-remembered, archaeological disaster of World War II: the mysterious burning of the monumental ships of the Roman Emperor Caligula as the German army retreated from Rome.
Klaus Schmidt, a crack artillery officer but also a lover of antiquities, is the protagonist. In 1943 in Nemi, Italy, a small town south of Rome, Klaus visits the ancient ships of Caligula, housed in a museum by the side of Lake Nemi, whence they were recovered a decade earlier in an engineering feat almost as remarkable as the ships themselves.
At the museum, Paolo, the ship museum?s curator, overcomes his dread of his German visitor (by September 1943, the Germans were no longer allies of Italy but occupiers) and discovers a kindred spirit in Klaus, who is also bewitched by the ships.
This fascinating and well-researched book will appeal to a wide audience. In addition to those interested in World War II and ancient history and legends, The Mirror of Diana is a novel for all who love pulsating historical fiction. The breathtaking plot twists and the relentless suspense will hold the reader in thrall, and the poignant story of the star-crossed lovers will touch the heart of everyone. I give The Mirror of Diana my highest recommendation.
- excerpt, Midwest Book Review"