Madman by Tracy Groot

Tallis, an Athenian servant, has been sent to visit the Palestinian school his master has been supporting financially for the past few years.  To his surprise, he discovers that the school is no longer in existence; to his dismay, he finds that no one wants to acknowledge it ever existed.  Through persistence, he’s able to learn that one of the former teachers was murdered, one committed suicide, one now worships in the temple of Dionysus, six are missing or in hiding, and one has become a madman.

It’s not obvious until the last few pages, but Groot takes a familiar account and provides a rich context; the Gerasene demoniac is no longer just a character, he’s a man with a complete story of his own.  The story alternates between Kardus’ inner torment and Tallis’ quest to piece together what happened—it’s captivating. Madman is a well-paced, well-written historical novel.  Highly recommended!

“If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out.”

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