- Olympia Publishers
- Release Date
- September 2016
Professor Nikos Angelopoulos is working with his Greek-Turkish team at a dig in Turkey when one day a young motorcyclist gets stranded: Sally from Ireland, fresh and charming and a bit flirty. Very soon the Professor finds out that, despite her temperament, she's still very innocent and gullible, and he seems to develop fatherly feelings towards her, protecting her from the clear intentions of the young men at the camp.
Then she just happens to dig up a fragment of clay with an old Assyrian inscription in Hittite on it, and Nikos finds out that this inscription is the oldest one found so far in an Indo-European language. While celebrating their great find, Sally and Nikos discover their feelings for each other despite their age difference – but at the same time, an American millionaire turns up who wants to buy the clay fragment for his collection; and, although Nikos tells him it is a national treasure and not for sale, he won't take no for an answer. He tries to convince Nikos to sell it to him, and when that plan fails he calls in his gunmen…
Amid their ever-growing passion for each other, Nikos and Sally now have got to face a dangerous and violent gang of artefact thieves together with their brave international team of archaeologists and workers. Who will win the showdown at Kanesh camp – and will this unusual relationship between a scientist of sixty and a young adventuress of not yet thirty stand the test of time?
Jun 20, 2017 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
138 people found the following review helpful
I admit that I've always been an archaeology geek, so the prospect of reading THE PROFESSOR AND THE BIRD immediately intrigued me. And Roberta Franklin did not disappoint. This was an absolutely lovely story. I enjoyed the backdrop, the mystery, the use of language to differentiate the different characters, as well as the effortless shift between points of view, which enhanced the story. And while yes, this IS a romance and quite a good one, I admit to voicing a geek girl squeal at the use of BCE (so many authors are not up to date on this and it's been "ages").
To quote Nikos: "Because history is full of suspense. This big adventure called mankind over the millenniums, great cultures, arts, sciences, inventions, wars, destruction, new cultures..." And that's exactly what this story encompasses.
While there are many secondary characters, Ms. Franklin treats them as equally important to the story and doesn't skimp on their development. Their respective characteristics along with the sweeping backdrop reminded me of a Bogart movie.
And while I'm generally not a fan of euphemisms, Franklin's choices had me laughing out loud.
If you enjoy stories that are so much more than a romance complete with engaging characters and an enticing plot, then you will definitely enjoy THE PROFESSOR AND THE BIRD.
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BOOK INTERVIEW on August 2017
Interview by Laura
Hi Roberta, welcome to The Romance Reviews, and let's talk about THE PROFESSOR AND THE BIRD.
(NOTE: 5 star review for THE PROFESSOR AND THE BIRD! Read it here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=24130)
Q: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
I've always been very much interested in history, and for a while I was thinking of becoming an archaeologist. Then, when I decided to try my hand at a romance novel for the first time, I started working on a combination of characters that would work the way I imagined it: with quite an age difference between them. So, the idea of making the male protagonist a Professor of Archaeology came to my mind – and, as a contrast, a young and slightly crazy motorbike riding girl who turns the Professor's life upside down!
Q: Sounds intriguing. What made you set your story in the middle of the desert? How is the setting relevant to the story?
The desert is one of the most likely places to find an archaeologist; and I think the background of the dig in the Anatolian desert is very attractive, because I have always found excavation camps in exotic places simply fascinating. People from many different countries gather there, and literally anything can happen! And it does – not only do our protagonists find a very rare and historically important artefact there, but a dubious ‘collector' tries to steal it, which brings danger to them and the other members of the excavation team.
Q: Tell us more about Sally. What kind of person is she?
She's from Ireland, 27 years old but still in many ways quite girlish. She's never had to take any responsibility in her life, her parents own a hotel where she works during the season, and during the rest of the year she takes part in motorcycle races all around the world. She is bubbly and temperamental, and she likes flirting, but she tends to get disappointed because of her naivety. She does dream of settling down with the right man, though…
Q: How about Professor Nikos Angelopoulos? What made him into the man we meet at the start of the story?
Professor Angelopoulos is a renowned Greek archaeologist, and for many years digging up and preserving ancient treasures has been his whole life. He spends most of his day cleaning and examining finds at the dig, and he has been working with the same reliable team for years – so his life in general follows well-worn tracks. Also, his work as an archaeologist and his devotion to history have made him tend to live in the far-distant past more than in the present.
Q: What was their first meeting like?
The first time Nikos and Sally meet is as hilarious as can be: he is working on his artefacts when a big tumult breaks out at the camp – the workers have found a girl close by who has had an accident with her motorbike. Sally has arrived!
"What on earth is happening?" he asked, slightly annoyed, as he stepped outside into the midday sun – "We find somebody out in the dunes, fell from motorbike!" Ahmet, the camp supervisor, shouted; and young Arslan added with a broad grin: "Is one girl!" A girl on a motorbike, alone in the middle of the desert? That definitely exceeded Professor Angelopoulos' powers of imagination... "Is she injured?" he asked immediately.
"Only little bit the foot; but she is angry, does not want to stay here, want to go on!"
"But where, for heaven's sake? She won't even reach Kayseri all on her own!" the Professor said, but at the same moment emerged from the hospital tent a strawberry blonde whirlwind of barely 5'3" who spoke for herself.
"But I don't want to go to Kayseri anyway, I've got to take the cross country route, or I'll get disqualified!" she declared in a kind of English that sounded a bit strange but very engaging; but it wasn't her English that the Professor didn't understand...
"Er – what was that? Cross country through the desert? All on your own, on a motorcycle?" he asked, in a different kind of English – the Greek variant.
"I've been doing that for quite a while, mister, don't be afraid, I'll be alright!" the strawberry blonde whirlwind answered. At this point, though, Ahmet took her by the arm and whispered into her ear.
"Not just Mister – Professor!" – "What, a Professor?!" She looked quite impressed, and then politely introduced herself.
"Sally's me name. Sally Burns. I'm on the Anatolia Rally." – "That means – this crazy venture they undertake every year, with 4x4s..." – "... and bikes, of course!" Sally added, "Mine's a Kawasaki, her name's Molly; but she got hurt."
"Erm... hurt? Maybe you got hurt, miss?"
"No, not at all, just a wee bit of a sprain, your nice doctors already fixed that, mister... Oh sorry, I mean Professor! Professor... erm...?" Quite indignant about the fact that this foreign young brat still hadn't recognised the famous archaeologist, Ahmet soon explained to her.
"Professor Nikolaos Angelopoulos, of the Greek-Turkish Archaeological Institute!"
"Great pleasure to meet you, Professor Angelopoulos; I've never met a real archaeologist!" she confessed, looking at him with her big blue eyes.
Q: How would you describe their relationship?
From the first moment, Nikos feels a bit like a protector, almost a father, for Sally, and she feels good and relaxed when she is with him, she admires his knowledge and wisdom. After a while, those feelings become romantic and then sexual – which gives their relationship the air of something unusual, almost forbidden: a love with an age difference of more than 30 years!
Q: What is it about Nikos that captivated Sally, and vice-versa?
Sally admires and respects Nikos enormously, she feels he is someone she can lean on – and she also loves his little foibles he has acquired through having been a bachelor for so many years and living only for his work. Nikos adores Sally's vitality and carefreeness that have at last made him realise what real life is like!
Q: What for you is a romantic moment between them?
The night they receive a message from the laboratory about how important the artefact they found is, the team hold a big party at the dig; the wine flows freely, and Nikos and Sally sit next to each other all evening exchanging glances – and finally they decide to continue their celebration in his room…
"Oh, you're such a sweet girl, Sally..." he said, and driven by all his exultation and the unusual quantity of wine he'd drunk, he did what he'd been yearning for the whole day long. He embraced her, just like he'd done in the morning, he pulled her towards him, and kissed her on the brow. And then, their eyes met and suddenly, no more words were necessary...
He held her waist while she flung her arms around his neck, and just like magnets their lips approached each other until they met; a kiss so warm, so tender, that made the whole world around them seem to vanish.
But it was Nikos who first woke up from their dream world – he looked at her, and, almost shocked at his own temperament, told her: "Sally, I'm sorry, I... shouldn't have done that, I... I'm a scoundrel, I mustn't..."
She looked at him, puzzled, and asked: "Why not – are you married?"
He shook his head: "No, I'm not."
She'd never felt more relief in her life than at the sound of those words...
And yet, he continued to explain: "But I could be your father!"
And there she smiled and simply replied: "Alright, so you could be – but you're not!"
Again he looked deep into her big blue eyes that were so full of love and trust; and there simply was nothing left for him but to press her body to his and kiss her again... She clung tighter to him; and this time, she had no objection at all when his tongue came stealing into her mouth: she opened it a little more, so that their tongues could play with each other – and shivers of excitement and happiness ran up and down her spine. There was no time and no space anymore, just her and him, kissing passionately and holding each other tight...
"Sally, you're so beautiful," he whispered into her ear in between two kisses, "and so sweet..." And she whispered back: "And you're so gentle – and SO good-looking, so you are..." She stroked his hair tenderly, and kissed his cheek and then his lips again, tenderly and lovingly; and he held her in his arms, feeling that she was the greatest treasure he'd ever held in his life...
Q: What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.
Once I'd decided to set my story in Anatolia, I started researching on all the ancient peoples that had been living in the area over the centuries; Anatolia used to be a centre of culture and a link between the ancient civilisations of the Near East and of Europe. The biggest empire that existed there was that of the Hittites, during the 3rd to 1st millennium BCE; it was as powerful as the Egyptian Empire. The Hittites were Indo-Europeans, and they used to trade with the Semitic Assyrians of Mesopotamia, who had already developed a cuneiform script, one of the first scripts in history. What I found out that was entirely new to me, though, was that the Hittites had used the Assyrian script for their trade contracts carved into clay – and that fragments of those contracts found at Kanesh, where the story is set, actually are the oldest texts ever written in an Indo-European language!
Q: What's up next for you?
I am currently writing the next adventure of Sally and Nikos: during a holiday on Crete, they first discover an ancient shipwreck, and then they get mixed up in a local vendetta!
Thank you for your time, Roberta! This book sounds so romantic with a May-December romance.
Bio of author, Roberta Franklin:
Roberta Franklin, who was born in Germany in 1973 and studied History and English Literature in Munich, has been living in Greece since 1998, where her daughter was born in 2000. She has worked in various fields – as a journalist, as Social Hostess on a cruise ship, as an insurance agent – and during the past ten years she has been working as a freelance translator and a teacher of foreign languages. But her true passion has always been writing, and her favourite genre has always been romantic fiction. She loves books, movies, computer games, history – and she feels at home everywhere around the world!