The Latinist: Book summary and reviews of The Latinist by Mark Prins

The Latinist

A Novel

by Mark Prins

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

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Book Summary

A contemporary reimagining of the Daphne and Apollo myth, The Latinist is a page-turning exploration of power, ambition, and the intertwining of love and obsession.

Tessa Templeton has thrived at Oxford University under the tutelage and praise of esteemed classics professor Christopher Eccles. And now, his support is the one thing she can rely on: her job search has yielded nothing, and her devotion to her work has just cost her her boyfriend, Ben. Yet shortly before her thesis defense, Tessa learns that Chris has sabotaged her career―and realizes their relationship is not at all what she believed.

Driven by what he mistakes as love for Tessa, Chris has ensured that no other institution will offer her a position, keeping her at Oxford with him. His tactics grow more invasive as he determines to prove he has her best interests at heart. Meanwhile, Tessa scrambles to undo the damage―and in the process makes a startling discovery about an obscure second-century Latin poet that could launch her into academic stardom, finally freeing her from Chris's influence.

A contemporary reimagining of the Daphne and Apollo myth, The Latinist is a page-turning exploration of power, ambition, and the intertwining of love and obsession.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Prins puts a contemporary spin on the Apollo and Daphne myth in his laudable debut...[his] riveting tale of love, power, and possession matches deep characterization with an intriguing plot involving ancient texts, necropolises, and archaeological sites. Fans of academic thrillers will dig this." - Publishers Weekly

"Events come to a satisfying climax...but then the author tacks on a bizarre, gothic denouement that nothing in the development of his two main characters has prepared for. The novel's subdued but pronounced feminist undertones suddenly morph into distasteful and implausible revenge porn that leaves a nasty aftertaste as the plot is hastily wrapped up. Ninety percent of a smart, twisty thriller, but the finale just doesn't work." - Kirkus Reviews

"Mark Prins weaves together an extremely contemporary plot―an American academic caught up in the machinations of her advisor at Oxford―with a much older plot―the discovery of a second-century Roman poet. The two thrillingly intertwine and the result is a wonderfully suspenseful novel. The Latinist is a brilliant debut." - Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field

"With its ambitious young scholar, an ancient tomb, and a scheming advisor, The Latinist is a twisty and memorable new addition to the campus-novel genre. Mark Prins propels you through his tale of breakthroughs and retribution while delivering a sharp commentary on power dynamics in academia. A cunning and insightful read―I couldn't put it down." - Maria Hummel, author of Still Lives and Lesson in Red

"Within the first few pages of this book, I knew I was in the hands of a masterful storyteller. The Latinist is imaginative, propulsive, and wildly intelligent. What a joy to encounter a thrilling and singular new voice in fiction." - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest and Good Company

"A novel about love and scholarship, ego and obsession, coercion and consent―a brilliant, marvelously infuriating puzzle of a book that combines the globe-trotting exploits of The Da Vinci Code with the smarts and literary gifts of A. S. Byatt. A terrific debut!" - Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement

"Darkly disturbing and luminously told.… Every twist is delicious and every turn breathtaking as Mark Prins's devilish debut revels in a scholarly world of cunning, ruthlessness, and dangerous obsession. Funny, erudite, and utterly absorbing, this is a merciless tale to be relished like a guilty pleasure." - Christopher J. Yates, author of Black Chalk and Grist Mill Road

"Brainy and deftly plotted, The Latinist enchants with its deft inversions of power, its witty poetic inventions, and its passion for languages old and new. A lovely debut." - Andrea Barrett, author of Archangel and The Air We Breathe

"The Latinist is a whip-smart tale of obsession that teeters on the knife-edge of suspense and literary fiction; Mark Prins is a worthy successor to Patricia Highsmith, Donna Tartt, and Ian McEwan." - Alexandra Andrews, author of Who Is Maud Dixon?

This information about The Latinist shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

An unexpected treat
Since falling under the enchantment of Circe by Madeline Miller, I've read widely through the many subsequent books based on myths. So it was a no-brainer to request Mark Prins' The Latinist to read and review. The 5 stars are for an array of delights. The book initially read like a guilty pleasure romance- but not for long. As the protagonists alternate chapters with first person narration, the path of a sinister plot seems to emerge. But nothing is as it appears and the payoff is unexpected and satisfying. Do brush up on the mythic background to fully appreciate what Prins has done.

Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)

The Latinist
This book was extremely enjoyable. Epic poems, obsession, academia rolled into one amazing treat. There is enough romance, intrigue and mystery to please a reader of one of those specific genres while delighting them with the other aspects of the story too.The book made me want to learn Latin and start my own projects.

Arden A. (Longboat Key, FL)

Another great "ist" book
I've always been a sucker for titles that end in "ist"....."The Catastrophist," "The Cellist of Sarajevo," "The Alienist," all books that I ended up loving. And now I've read "The Latinist," a first novel by Mark Prins, and it is every bit as satisfying a read as have been the other "ist" books I've read.

I wanted to look up the meaning of Latinist, though: "a specialist in the Latin language, classical scholar, classicist – a student of ancient Greek and Latin." (I'd probably want to read a book entitled, "The Classicist.") Latin is a subject in which I have never had any knowledge or interest. I've never taken Latin in school, nor have I studied any ancient Roman, Greek history, or poetry. And then I read this book, and found myself engrossed in the language, history, latin quotes and references. I never skipped over any of it. I was riveted from start to end. There is much detail related to Latin, including poetry, excavations of dead poets, dismemberments, dissertations, but it is all woven within a complicated story of academia, treachery, love, deception, obsession. This is an excellent novel that I highly recommend.

Paula B. (Albuquerque, NM)

A modern Greek myth
The Latinist is a refreshing twist on a novel of intrigue. The intersection of the unfamiliar world of academia and the application of academic learning to archaeology. In college I read some Ovid and learned Greek mythology like that of Daphne and Apollo. In this original approach to storytelling, I revisited these interesting and still current stories. Books that send me searching or reviewing other areas are fun to read- in part why I read. The world of Oxford academia provides the fascinating background to a multi-faceted story of discovery and love, of a sort. Daphne's need to escape is not unknown in today's world. Read and enjoy.

Emma K

Absolutely Brilliant
The prose in this novel is truly nothing short of extraordinary.

This author has weaved a tale of love, destruction, sabotage, and discovery through the voices of two very distinct narrators with elegance and masterful skill. I felt transported to an Oxford quad, to Ancient Rome, and back again. Once I started the novel, I could not stop.

John A. (Ashland, OR)

The Latinist
The Latinist was an interesting, complex story involving classical mythology, early Roman poets and their mysteries, present day grief, deceit, longing and love, and multiple surprises along the way and at the end. Set predominantly in Oxford, but also in Italy and in the English countryside, the story steadily picked up speed as it progressed. The characters were well depicted and intriguing. Several key events revolved around a knowledge of Latin, physical anthropology, and even an old article in the British medical journal, The Lancet. I was both entertained and educated by this excellent novel which I can heartily recommend.

...22 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Mark Prins

Mark Prins is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Sun Valley Writers' Conference. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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