Oracle by Julie Anderson
High on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, near the ancient Temple of Apollo, a group of young idealists protest against the despoiling of the planet outside a European governmental conference. Inside, corporate business lobbyists mingle with lawmakers, seeking profit and influence. Then the charismatic leader of the protest goes missing.
Oracle is about justice, from the brutal, archaic form of blood vengeance prevalent in early human societies to modern systems of law and jurisprudence, set in the context of a democracy. This is the law and equality under the law which allows democracy to thrive and underpins the freedoms and safeguards for individuals within it. The story is interlinked with Greece’s past, as the ancient cradle of democracy and source of many of western ideas of government, but also to its more recent and violent past of military strongmen and authoritarianism in the twentieth century.
Oracle also considers, in the form of a crime thriller, the politicisation of the police and the justice system and how that will undermine justice, especially following the banning of Golden Dawn, the now criminal organisation which wrapped itself in the mantle of politics. It touches on the new academic discipline of zemiology, the study of ‘crime’ through the prism of the harm it does to people, especially those without power.
Last year I read the brilliant Plague by Julie Anderson and she has followed this up with her latest Oracle which is out now via Claret Press, and I have to say it is just as good as Plague. It is great to catch up again with Cassandra Fortune, she is one strong leading character and now she is back but not in the role you may recall if you have read the first in the series. Cassie has been sent to Greece at the behest of the Prime Minister to a conference. But a murder soon will stalk the conference centre.
Cassie has been given the role of getting a visit to London the of the fellow ministers and it is in the mountains close to the Temple of Apollo that the conference is being held but nearby an environmentalist group are protesting. Cassie is with her interpreter Helena but Cassie’s main reason for being in Greece is suddenly thrown into confusion after the body of a young woman is found, if this is not bad enough a second body is found that of an academic. Now Cassie together with Helena and the security chief Yannis, they must discover what happened to both with the worry that a killer could be stalking the conference.
Cassie still raw after what happened to her previously clearly wants this cleared up and fast but now, she is drawn into the investigation but is there a direct threat to her very own personal security.
When a major conference hits town with many minsters present there is always groups protesting with agendas on many sides and this adds to the confusion as tension rises.
Julie Anderson has written a blinding thriller that is fast paced and set in the beautiful location that she sets out for the reader and the characters really come to life as the scene is set for another brilliant novel involving Cassandra Fortune and look out for the ending. I am already looking forward to book three.
If you have not read Plague before now, go, and treat yourself when you buy a copy of Oracle. You will not be disappointed.
My thanks to Julie Anderson and Claret Press for the review copy of Oracle.
Oracle by Julie Anderson is published is Claret Press 2021and released on 5th May 2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org