As World War II intrudes upon their home, three young friends risk everything for freedom, love, and a chance at a better life.
As the world found itself engulfed in the flames of World War II, an extraordinary tale of bravery, sacrifice, and enduring love emerged from the picturesque landscapes of Greece. Best selling author Christopher Cosmos's recent novel, "Once We Were Here," takes readers on a poignant journey through history, shedding light on the untold story of Greece's pivotal role in the war, and the profound impact it had on the lives of its citizens.
Set against the backdrop of the radiant Aegean Sea, the novel introduces us to Alexei and Costa, two young friends who share a bond akin to that of brothers. Their tranquil village, nestled by the glistening waters, becomes a battleground for courage and resilience as Mussolini's ultimatum forces Greece into a life-changing decision. On October 28, 1940, the Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas utters a resounding "Oxi!"—a defiant "No!"—in response to the Axis forces' demand for occupation. This single word becomes the catalyst for an epic tale that unfolds with unparalleled intensity.
The heart of the narrative revolves around Alexei, the son of a local fisherman, and his profound love for Philia, a love that propels him to ask for her hand in marriage before he embarks on a harrowing journey to fight for his country. Joined by Costa and countless other young men, they set out on a path that will forever alter the course of their lives. Their journey becomes a testament to the indomitable spirit of the human heart, woven with threads of courage, sacrifice, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship and love.
"Winston Churchill said that Greeks don't fight life heroes, but heroes fight ike Greeks, and this story proves it; a stunning literary debut about legacy and history, war and peace, fate and destiny, the power of family and stories, and how young love can still shine and endure, even in the face of the greatest evils, and long after we're gone."STEVEN PRESSFIELD, best selling author of Gates of Fire and The Legend of Bagger Vance
Cosmos masterfully weaves historical accuracy with gripping storytelling, offering readers a vivid glimpse into Greece's valiant stand against the Axis forces. The novel showcases the true heroism of the Greek people, who defied all odds and held their ground for over 200 days—a feat that garnered respect even from their adversaries. Through the lens of Alexei and Costa, the modern-day incarnations of Greek mythological heroes, readers witness the echoes of ancient legends, as they march forward with the spirit of Jason and Odysseus, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead.
The praise for "Once We Were Here" resonates with its power and emotional depth. Bestselling author Victoria Aveyard describes the novel as a "modern epic, surging with the lifeblood of Greece and her proud history," while Paula McLain, author of "The Paris Wife," lauds Cosmos for his commitment to sharing Greece's powerful and heartbreaking history. The book's exploration of family legacies, sacrifice, and the enduring impact of war on future generations adds a layer of complexity that lingers long after the final page is turned.
The legacy of bravery and sacrifice portrayed in the novel receives a heartfelt tribute from Kirkus Reviews, as they acknowledge, "If Hitler and Stalin recognized the Greeks’ courage, it’s about time the world did, too." The echoes of Ernest Hemingway's evocative prose reverberate through the narrative, as the novel captures the essence of wartime love and loss, painting a vivid picture of a nation's fight for its identity.
Cosmos' storytelling prowess is further amplified by the gripping cinematic quality of the narrative. Through his vivid portrayal of untrained Resistance fighters, villagers, and survivors, readers are transported to a world where the human spirit prevails against all odds. The beauty and history of Greece, entwined with the narrative of World War II and love, create a tapestry of emotions that captivates and resonates.
Reading "Once We Were Here," we are reminded of the unyielding spirit of Greece, the profound impact of history, and the enduring legacy of love and sacrifice. Christopher Cosmos's novel stands as a tribute to the brave men and women who fought for their country, their loved ones, and ultimately, for the cause of freedom. Through his poignant storytelling, Cosmos has etched an unforgettable tale that echoes through the annals of time—a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of love.
"Once We Were Here" is not just a novel; it is a bridge connecting past and present, a nod to a nation's unwavering resolve, and a testimony to the lasting impact of human courage.
“Once We Were Here", a multi-generational love story set in Greece during WWII, is now available from Simon & Schuster and Arcade Publishing anywhere books are sold or available for purchase online from stores such as Amazon, Booktopia and Dymocks.
For more info about him and his work please follow him on Instagram @christophercosmos.