The Black Earth By Philip Kazan ** Blog Tour Review**

The Black Earth was published by Allison & Busby on 19th April 2018 so it is great to feature it today on my stop on its blog tour. 

1922. When the Turkish Army occupies Smyrna, Zoe Haggitiris escapes with her family, only to lose everything. Alone in a sea of desperate strangers, her life is touched, for a moment, by a young English boy, Tom Collyer, also lost, before the compassion of a stranger leads her into a new life. 

Years later when war breaks out, Tom finds himself in Greece and in the chaos of the British retreat, fate will lead him back to Zoe. But he will discover that the war will not end so easily for either of them.

My Thoughts

What an emotional read this turned out to be. The effects of occupation on a society is starkly described as the customs and familiar touchstones of life are crushed and swept away. Zoe's early life is shattered as her family flee but her strength of character and resilience enable her to keep going despite the fact that she loses everything. After a chance encounter with the Englishman, Tom Collyer, their lives intertwine over time. 

    Philip Kazan has drawn on his own family history in depicting Greece in the 1940's and his Greek grandmother and cousins were migrants and refugees in this same period. This gives the story an authenticity and credibility. It is a fascinating period in twentieth century history and leads you to want to know more about what happened in Greece in the mid-century. The story raises some interesting questions in your mind about what it takes to survive and how an individual can stay true to themselves when all the structure of society is disrupted and destroyed. 

    Amidst the horrors and difficulties of life, there are some examples of loyalty and genuine caring. I particularly liked the way the early part of the story reflects Zoe's confusion as to what had happened to her family. You feel that you are looking through the eyes of a child. There is a nice variety in how the story is told. You are given two different perspectives, those of Zoe and Tom. I also enjoyed the section where the story was progressed through Tom's letters. It really moved his story on in a dynamic and succinct way.  If you enjoy historical fiction with a great heart and poignant emotion, this may be the book for you. Highly recommended.

In short: A love story set amidst a turbulent period of history. 

About the Author

PHILIP KAZAN was born in London and grew-up on Dartmoor. He is the author of two previous novels set in fifteenth-century Florence and the Petroc series following a thirteenth-century adventurer. After living in New York and Vermont, Philip is back on the edge of Dartmoor with his wife and three children.

You can follow Philip here: Twitter   |  Website

Book link: Amazon UK  

•             Hardcover: 350 pages

•             Publisher: Allison & Busby (19 April 2018)

•             Language: English

•             ISBN-10: 0749022973

•             ISBN-13: 978-0749022976

Thanks to the author and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours 
for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

                                                   Catch the rest of the tour!


  1. Thanks so much for this fabulous Blog Tour support x


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