The Flame Before Us

Written by Richard Abbott
Review by Christoph Fischer

The Flame Before Us is a competently written and fascinating novel set in 1200 BC in what is now Syria, Gaza, Israel and Egypt. The Sea People, a group whose origin is subject to speculation, invade and bring down several cities in the Mediterranean.

Having travelled in the area extensively and studied Ancient Greek at school, I found the book incredibly interesting. Abbott’s background as scholar in the field made the position he takes on the subject compelling and believable. The descriptions, characters and stories are as engaging as his extensive author’s notes, which include invaluable historical background information, maps and an index of the many characters.

The book ended up on my reviewing pile by accident, but I am very pleased that it did. Wide in scope and rich in detail and plot, this is an accomplished illustration of this era in the region: complex, informative, enjoyable and skilfully put together.