Posted in BOOKS

Escaping Cyprus & Escaping Cyprus II: The Final Chapter by Gus Constantine


This novel is based on true accounts. I have conducted many interviews here in the United States and have traveled to Cyprus for additional research. The atrocities described in the novel are factual.

When Turkish soldiers invade his Cypriot village in 1974, twelve-year old Haji witnesses brutal atrocities, including the torturous murders of his father and sister while his pregnant mother was repeatedly being raped.

With the help of his beautiful school teacher Rebecca, (dishonored many times by Turkish soldiers) they flee their village only to face constant life-threatening danger wherever they went; as the barbaric Turkish soldiers continue to pursue them.

Their struggle to survive the Turkish soldiers and then to erase their horrible memories that haunt them lead to the dramatic ending.

About the Author

Gus Constantine is retired from the transportation industry. During his career Gus has been involved in several charitable organizations and continues to do so. He has served on his Church board holding several officer positions, including President. While serving as President of St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church, Gus wrote a monthly newsletter in the Church magazine. Gus is also an author of several short stories. Gus lives on Long Island with his wife Georgia of thirty-six years. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Escaping Cyprus II: The Final Chapter by Gus Constantine


Escaping Cyprus II: The Final Chapter continues forty-two years after Escaping Cyprus. Be prepared to be on the edge of your seat as you continue to live with Rebecca and Haji. Although it’s forty-two years later the atrocities they had inflected on them never left.

As the saga continues with the next generation as the twists and turns will keep you from putting the book down.

Posted in BOOKS

The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes

Meet Dean Karnazes

Ultramarathoner and NY Times bestselling author of 4 books, Dean Karnazes was born in Los Angeles, and grew up in Orange County, CA. He traces his Greek roots to Silimna, outside of Tripolis, and the island of Ikaria.

Dean got into running as a young boy, and actually ran his first marathon at the age of 14. He found running to be a great physical and mental challenge. But we’re supposed to pursue a course of study that will earn us a good living, right? So Dean went to college. Then he earned an MBA. After settling in San Francisco, he became a “successful corporate guy”. He’d achieved “the dream”, as it were, but it wasn’t his dream.

“On my 30th birthday, I decided I didn’t like my life. That night, while out drinking with friends at a bar, I left around 11:00 pm. I had to run. I decided to run 30 miles to celebrate my 30th. I ran through the night, for 7 hours. It changed my life.

Today, Dean is an internationally recognized athlete, a speaker, and best-selling author. TIME magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World”. He’s run all over the world and in all sorts of conditions — in 120◦ temperatures in Death Valley, to -40◦ at the South Pole. He is one of an elite group of runners who has completed 50 marathons in all 50 state — although Dean accomplished this in 50 consecutive days! His incredible feats have been spotlighted on 60 Minutes, CBS News, CNN, the BBC, and so many others. Dean has been featured in countless magazines, including the cover of People magazine Greece. He’s now a monthly columnist for Men’s Health, the largest men’s publication in the world.

He and his wife, Julie, were high school sweethearts. They have two children, Alexandria, 21, and Nicholas, 19. And yes, they all run.

Dean Karnazes Acropolis

High above Athens, at the Acropolis, Dean Karnazes experienced an epiphany.

Embracing his Hellenic roots

Recently, Dean experienced a cultural reawakening. He’s embraced his Hellenic roots in a big way. Kosta, as he now prefers to be called, felt compelled to learn where he came from.

“I realized I was influenced by our forefathers. I always embraced physical fitness, but didn’t always know that my mind, body, and spirit are aligned with them. I felt their presence, but never knew why. To learn these are timeless values is very intriguing. It somehow transcends the ordinary.”

That moment happened when after running the Chicago marathon, he immediately flew to Greece — for the 1st time.

“I was so exhausted; I just wanted to sleep. Then I looked out and saw the Acropolis. Something in me changed. I had to go up there. And right then. I climbed to the top, and stood there in awe. I never felt such a profound sense of providence. I knew I was supposed to be in that spot at that moment in time. I’ve never felt something so powerful, so unsettling in my life. I felt like I was home — like I belonged there.”

Since then, he’s vowed to help Greece as much as he can.

“I promote Greeks, Greece, Hellenism. I’ve taken an active role in Sports Tourism. It’s a rather lucrative segment, as healthy, active travelers spend a lot of money. Greece is the perfect place. It’s genuine — people hear this story and it moves them.”

Running in Pheidippides’ footsteps

Kosta learned about Pheidippides as young boy. His dad made that first connection.

“When I started running, my dad said, ‘Dean, you’re just like Pheidippides!’ He told me that Pheidippides ran that first marathon in ancient Greece, and he explained it at length. I was intrigued, and wondered how could a human run that far — it’s impossible. Part of me felt challenged by it. It was like, ‘Ok, I’m Greek, we’re athletes. I want to do this!’

Kosta actually thought that was all there was to Pheidippides’ story, and didn’t think much more of it.

“Then I met an old Greek man who said that’s not what really happened, that there was more to it. So I decided that I had to learn the truth, to be true to our Hellenic heritage. I started studying ancient Greek history. Pheidippides’ story — the entire story — fascinated me. What really happened is that 2500 years ago, a foot messenger — a hermerodromos — ran from Athens to Sparta — 153 miles. I wondered, how could a man run that far, especially in the mountainous terrain of Greece. This led me on a path to understand how ancient Greek athletes were so superior in so many ways.”

He also realized that he wanted to someday retrace the steps of that first marathoner.
The Road to Sparta cover Dean Karnazes


Kosta had run plenty of ultramarathons, and footraces of hundreds of hundred of miles. But none were the Spartathlon. He began to train to run ultramarathon of the ancient variety — and in the motherland — but in order to truly retrace the footsteps of his hero, he would only consume same foods as Pheidippides did — figs, olives, cured meat, and pasteli — and only drink water.

“Because there was no gatorade 2500 years ago! This was so different. I’ve run 36 hours continuously, but I had no idea what I would encounter on this path.”

He met a few surprises along the way — and in the dark it can be rather dangerous.

“I met a few porcupines in Messinia. I didn’t know they were indigenous to the Peloponnese. And spiders, lots of big spiders!”

There were 350 starters in the race — the most elite athletes in the world — representing 47 different countries. To simply finish was the goal. And this was no easy feat. Only a third of the starters typically finish.

“The passes around Sparta are incredibly treacherous — I scaled the side of a mountain almost on all fours. The rock there is very barren.”

Writing The Road to Sparta

Kosta tells the his story from the time he started running, to the present, in The Road to Sparta: Reliving the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World’s Greatest Footrace. He said the book required extensive research and took 5 years to write. During that time, he took many trips to Greece to study the areas he wrote about, including detailed information on the topography. He worked with the foremost authorities on Ancient Greek culture, including Professor Paul Cartledge from the University of Cambridge; and Dr. P.J. Shaw, the top authority on the travels of Pheidippides.

Review of The Road to Sparta

In the Road to Sparta, Dean Karnazes takes us on a marathon of sorts through his life story, as he embraces his roots, and pays homage to the ancient hemerodromoi — and the most famous one of all, Pheidippides. Follow Dean on his personal quest, in which he validates his hero, learns more about himself, and reignites his passion for all things Greek. Dean shows us a side of Greece most of us will never know, and opens a whole new world to us — one of an almost superhuman feat, with all its ups and downs. He shares the highs and lows, the frustrations, and the fight to finish, through the delirium, and the ultimate test of his body. This race was about more than finishing, and connecting with this hero. Ultimately, it is a means to inspire others. You don’t have to be a runner to appreciate this book. Dean Karnazes shows us what true grit, determination, and perseverance are all about. He inspires us to push just a little bit harder, to not give up, and to pursue our dreams.

What’s next

Kosta will continue to explore.

“Just like Socrates was a citizen of the world, I strive to be one.”

In 2018 he plans to embark on a 1-year global expedition to run a marathon in every country of the world. That’s 203 countries! He’s currently working with the UN and the US State Department to obtain the necessary passports and permits. Kosta is working with corporate sponsors such as The North Face, Colgate-Palmolive, and FitBit.

Dean Karnazes has achieved much, but isn’t even close to the finish line of his career. Watch for more feats of wonder — and many more stories.

Posted in BOOKS

Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff

Looking for a great thriller to bring on your trip to Greece (or wherever) this summer? Check out ‘Dead Olives’ by Jeremy Hinchliff, a thriller set in Greece.

Meet Author Jeremy Hinchliff

Jeremy Hinchliff was born in South Africa but has spent much of his life in England. For the last few years, he’s lived in Messinia, Greece.

He became interested in Greece as a kid reading an old book of Greek myths his father had. Jeremy developed an early love of Homer. He studied ancient Greek through school and college and spent much vacation time in Crete. Over about 20 years of spending time in Greece, he not only fell in love with the country, but he also learned Modern Greek.

Jeremy started writing songs at sixteen and did that for about 20 years. A few years ago, he began writing and publishing short stories. Dead Olives is his first novel. 

Author Jeremy Hinchliff lives in Greece.

Inspiration for Dead Olives

As the Crisis hit Greece in 2008, he was a librarian in an Oxford College, which includes some of the earliest printed books – including Greek. After moving to Greece, Jeremy saw first-hand Greeks and African migrants in Greece both struggling to make a meager living. Jeremy spoke about how the economic crisis and other issues in Modern Day Greece inspired Dead Olives.

“It was just too weird to have the evidence of how influential Greece had been culturally in my hands at work. But then I’d see reports on the BBC of Molotovs in Exarchia and Χρυση Αυγή (political party Golden Dawn) doing Nazi salutes and beating up immigrants, Greek families losing 40% of their wealth, scavenging on rubbish dumps, emigrating, etc. I was fed up with my job so went to live in Messinia and began writing.”

He said he wrote the book to provide another perspective on the Crisis.

“I wasn’t really writing it for Greeks, of course, as they know more than enough about the situation in their country. But I suppose I felt somewhere in the back of my mind that it was for Greece, to commemorate a lousy situation. I wanted something to get into English language fiction about the Greek Crisis. It’s a country that everyone in Europe spends time in on holiday. We have many current affairs reports about Euro Working Groups, and so on, but I wanted there to be something a bit different than that. Of course it’s for Greek writers who really know the Crisis to write the best fiction on it, but I wanted to have a go for any lovers of Greece whose first language is English. Also just for my own sake. Writing fiction is what I do. It was nice to write some set in Greece as it kind of picked up threads of my interest in the place which I might otherwise have lost.”

About Dead Olives

Dead Olives is a fictionalized account of how the financial and refugee crises are affecting Greece today. It takes place in various locations around today’s Greece—Athens, Kalamata, and three small villages.

The economic crisis that hit Greece in 2008 caused major dislocations to Greek society. The austerity measures imposed, in an effort to meet Greece’s staggering debt obligations, have led to high unemployment and cuts to pensions, as well as cuts in medical and other social services. As the economy worsened, many young, educated people with skills left Greece further compounding the situation for those left in Greece. Additionally, the last few years have seen a massive influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa who often live on the fringes of Greek society and have difficulty assimilating.

Throughout history, societies facing severe economic hardship have often looked to blame outsiders. Greece has done a remarkable job coping with the extreme difficulties it has faced. However the Crisis has given rise to a new wave of nationalism and xenophobia, which has led to the rise in the popularity of Chrisy Avyi (Golden Dawn) party. This subject is visited in Dead Olives.

Dead Olives follows the lives of Filoxenia and her beautiful sister Anassa trying to make a living in Athens as well as the migrants Samwells and Sunday Ngone who are struggling just to get by.

The two sisters and two migrants get caught up in events at the FlyKing Hotel in Athens. The effects of these events spread to other parts of the city and the small town of Pano Petro.

Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff cover

Dead Olives, a novel set in Modern Day Greece, is available on Kindle.

Review of Dead Olives

Jeremy Hinchliff did a spectacular job drawing me into the characters and the story, which personalized the plight of Greeks and migrants in Greece in a very interesting way. Each character has an interesting story to tell. Not only will the story draw you in the way all good thrillers do, but Jeremy Hincliff’s eye for detail and his ability to craft a sentence make this a great read.

There are also several interesting historical bits written by a character in the story – historian George Sthenos. For instance, I learned about the language riots of 1901 from these passages.

Having spent time in Athens and Kalamata as well as small towns in Greece I found the author really captured the spirit and atmosphere of Greece.

If you are looking for a well-written book to take with on vacation this summer, try Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff. It’s a great book to bring to the beach in Greece, or if you can’t make it to Greece but would like a book that will evoke the atmosphere of Greece, you’ll find this really fits the bill.