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The Latinist

A Novel

by Mark Prins

The Latinist by Mark Prins X
The Latinist by Mark Prins
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  • Published Jan 2022
    336 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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There are currently 27 member reviews
for The Latinist
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  • Lupita G. (Plantation, FL)
    Beware of your professor...
    This was an enjoyable, "high-brow" novel, set in Oxford University; Tessa Templeton is the PhD student, and Chris Eccles is the professor, and her mentor.

    Tessa is a brilliant Classicist from the United States, and is on the brink of finishing her studies at Oxford, and is applying to universities for professorships, but finds it strange when she never receives an answer. Then, all of a sudden she receives a strange letter telling her that Chris -- her PhD advisor and mentor -- has been sabotaging her academic career by making sure she stays at Oxford as a professor, and realizes Chris's true intentions.

    The story is told through Tessa's and Chris's point of views, therefore the reader will notice the psychopathic machinations (and reasons) of Chris's sabotage. While all this is happening, Tessa discovers the writings of an obscure ancient Roman poet that could not only salvage her career, but put her on the map, if only she could get away from Chris Eccles.

    Between the suspense of Chris's sabotage, and the mystery of the obscure Roman poet, the books takes us from Oxford to the coastline of Italy, and it all comes to an exciting finish. Recommended for those that are fans of literary thrillers, such as "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz-Zafon, and A.S. Byatt's "Possession".
  • Elizabeth (Salem, OR)
    Tough Start but Good Finish
    I'll confess that after the first section I put the book down for at least a week. Not another "academia is a snake pit" book, I thought, only this time with Latin. But I enjoyed the book when I picked it up again. The author does a good job of making both main characters alternately admirable and repugnant. The twist on the myth of Daphne and Apollo at the end was quite amusing.
  • Barbara E. (Rockville, MD)
    The Latinist
    I really enjoyed the parts of this novel dealing with Tessa's search for the Silver Age poet, Marius. The scholarly discussions and the scenes at the archaeological site were exciting and illuminating. The author has clearly researched ancient sources (although Marius is fictional). The story of obsession/love in the book I found less compelling overall. Prins does describe an interesting twist on the Apollo and Daphne story, but I found Tessa's motivations somewhat confusing especially toward the end of the book. Chris's feelings are more straightforward, though misplaced, and his actions are truly horrifying. I enjoyed the book and found it complex, thought-provoking, but ultimately somewhat unsatisfying at the end.
  • Cindy B. (Waukee, IA)
    The Latinist
    A novel exploring an obsessive professor/mentor relationship and the competitive world of academia set around the subject of classical mythology was initially difficult for me to get into as my knowledge of the Latin classics is limited and at times the authors details became tedious. However the author's modern day retelling of Apollo and Daphne myth was an interesting way to explore the complex relationships within the novel and I became more invested in the story as I continued reading.
  • Elizabeth L. (Langhorne, PA)
    It is a love indeed
    I found The Latinist to be an intriguing tale of obsession but did not consider it a "mystery" in the truest sense of the word, because we know who did what to whom from the start. Having earned a doctorate myself, I recall the delicate balance between mentor and student and how easily the lines can be blurred. Tessa and Chris' relationship delves perfectly with the fate of Apollo and Daphne. Mr. Prins prose is lovely to read and I appreciated the additional illustrations and bold print to delineate emails and epigraphs. However, the many references to early Roman poetry were a tad tedious as Latin was never an interest of mine. Yet, I found the book hard to put down and what an ending! This book is for the reader who wants and enjoys an intellectual challenge but not likely for mass market.
  • Elise B. (Macedonia, OH)
    The Latinist
    The novel, The Latinist, is a modern day retelling of the story of Daphne and Apollo. The story line is very engaging as Tessa learns that her trusted mentor, Chris Eccles, has written a very unflattering letter of recommendation for her as she searches for post-doctorate employment. She soon makes an important literary/archaeological discovery, and the tides slowly start to turn. That portion of the novel really becomes fast paced and exciting.
    It has been years since I have studied any type of Greek mythology so I found myself looking up and learning a lot about the Greek myths and their ancient culture. The book was compared to the Da Vinci Code, of which I am a huge fan, but I think Dan Brown is better able to bring artists and complex ideas down to a layperson's understanding. I found myself somewhat lost in the deeper layers of this novel. I would recommend this to an audience fairly familiar with academia and classic literature.
  • Gina T. (Natick, MA)
    Psychological thriller
    I found the Latinist to be a very unique and a bit confusing psychological thriller. The academic setting was exceptional and the plot points set in Italy was thrilling.
    The trials of young , female academics seemed genuine.
    Sacrifice for career opportunities is certainly examined.
    This novel has many references that would appeal to true lovers of classical literature. This novel is not for someone wanting a quick gone girlesque read.
    If you are seeking a novel that is complex but ultimately satisfying, The Latinist is a good choice. It succeeded in transporting me away from current affairs and for that, I am grateful.

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