Son of Xanos is the first book of a four book series which tells the story of the life-journey of Rodino Xanos, with a strong autobiographical thread that runs through the novel as it relates to the author’s life experiences, and his quest to find answers to soul searching questions.
When we first meet Rodino, the Son of Xanos, he is a young boy growing up on the
during the Greek Civil War in the
1940s. After the death of his father and
an unforgivable act committed by Rodino himself, the young boy runs away from
home into the mountains and begins an odyssey that will span across continents
and decades. island of Crete
Rodino is trying to find his place in the world but with no stable father figure to guide him he is easily led into dangerous situations and wherever he goes he finds revolution, unrest and war. But Rodino’s experiences of growing up in
the civil war and travelling for a time with a band of Gypsies, give him the
ability to survive with little resources.
People drift in and out of Rodino’s life, as he drifts in and out of theirs, but unfortunately he does not leave them any better for knowing him as he is at times selfish, very childlike despite all his experiences, and careless. As Rodino grows older you like him less and less, and here the author has done his job. Ballenden doesn’t want us to fall in love with Rodino right away; he wants to take us on a journey so that at the end of his book series we are one with the Cretan and we fully understand his life choices.
The novel is broken up into various parts, and I thought that part one was the most beautifully written; it is poetic with an almost dreamlike quality to it. Son of Xanos marks my final and probably favourite “indie” read for this year.
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