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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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 4, 2022
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

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

"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!" - ulie 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.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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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.

Laurie S., Minneapolis, MN

Smart and Suspenseful Academic Thriller
Waiting for the next academic thriller in the vein of Donna Tartt? The Latinist by Mark Prins was it for me. Multiple storylines take the reader from the halls of Oxford to the streets of Rome and back again where classical academics and archaeologists put together pieces of lives and stories long ago forgotten. The author creates seamless intersections between art and life/myth and truth. In the main plot line, a classics professor's obsession with his beautiful student illustrates the power of politics and control. Like a Dan Brown bestseller, this novel connects the myth of Apollo and Daphne with the lives of the professor and his student in unexpected ways. The reader can't help see how the characters' lives reflect the puzzle they are trying to solve. I thoroughly enjoyed this smart and suspenseful literary tale.

Joan R. (Chicago, IL)

An Excellent Debut Novel
This is an extraordinary debut novel. I was quickly swept into the world of classic studies at Oxford with all its intrigues. Many themes of ancient texts -- obsession, ambition, passion and intrigue --- are deftly handled with characters as complicated as Odysseus. I found myself constantly reexamining my assumptions about the characters throughout the novel and changing my opinions of them. Because of the complexity of the characters and themes, I think this would be an excellent book club selection. A nice bonus is the chance to learn a bit of Latin and enjoy some lovely poetry.

Dorinne D. (Wickenburg, AZ)

An Enriching Reading Experience
I found this book to be a bit difficult to get into, since the subject matter involves early Latin verse including the mythical romance of Daphne and Apollo. Not my usual genre as you might imagine. But once into the story involving Tessa, an American student working on her doctorate at Oxford University, and her advisor-mentor, Chris, I found myself eagerly navigating through the Latin poetry and nuances to discover the current story of Tessa's scholarship abilities and Chris's obsessive behavior. A very different reading experience, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. I believe that I have enriched my reading experience through this novel.

Paula K. (Champaign, IL)

A Literary Thriller Suffused with Obsession and Revenge
Reimagining the Daphne and Apollo myth and through lyrical prose, The Latinist tells the story of an aspiring scholar and her controlling mentor. Prins captures the nuances of life in contemporary academia, including the discovery of the work of a second-century poet and the control that a single senior person, acting as a mentor, can have over the career of an aspiring academic. Although I found The Latinist a little slow at the start, it was not long before I was hooked. The book will appeal to a wide range of readers and be especially popular in academic communities.

Stephanie K. (Glendale, AZ)

Scholarship, Passion, Suspense and Obsession
Tessa, an American scholar, begins her academic career at Oxford unaware of the dangerous games she's playing with Chris, her brilliantly flawed British mentor. While at first she has the cushion of Chris's wife Diana and her lover Ben to keep them safely apart, both Ben's and Diana's sudden departures wreak havoc in the form of obsessed and unrequited love. For anyone ever delving into literary academia, Tessa's and Chris's story leaves the reader fascinated yet terrified. Within the background of ancient history and archeological digs, their thoroughly modern relationship will seem both familiar and odd as professor and student circle around each other, one cunning and the other innocent, only to shockingly do an about-face. Anyone intrigued with dead languages, ancient mysteries and the workings of overwrought minds will find this one of their new favorite reads.

...10 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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