The Tomb of Zeus

Written by Barbara Cleverly
Review by Mike Ashworth

The Tomb of Zeus introduces Laetitia Talbot, an aspiring archaeologist with a passion for adventure. The story opens in Crete in 1928 where Laetitia is undertaking her first assignment to excavate the island’s fabled tomb of the King of the Gods. However, all is not as it seems. A young woman is found hanged—but is it suicide or murder? Laetitia determines to find the truth and unearths a tangled web of deceit and lies.

As someone whose knowledge of archaeology is limited to the occasional programme on television, I found the archaeological references and the actual excavation interesting without being overpowering, making a plausible framework on which to base the story. The death and the events which led up to it I found less plausible, and I found some of the characters would not have been out of place in a Mills & Boon romance. This, for me, is where the book falls down. It was a mixture of crime and romance with a touch of Brideshead Revisited, which does not quite come off. However, Laetitia Talbot has promise which I am sure will develop in further books.