The Night Villa
Ballantine Books (2008)
Paperback, 413 pages
Facilis descensus Averna. The way to Hell is easy.
Classics professor Sophie Chase has no idea that the ex-boyfriend of one her best students, Agnes Hancock, is about to go ballistic. Dale is a member of a strange cult called Tetraktys who believes that Pythagorean philosophy is the key to a new world order. Sophie had lost her old boyfriend to this cult years ago.
What results is a tragic shooting and Sophie spends weeks in the hospital. She is whisked away to Italy to work on a project involving ancient scrolls believed to be hidden in the catacombs on the Isle of Capri. They were written at the time of the eruption in A.D.79 and rumored to have survived the devastation. Sophie’s thesis was on a slave girl from that time and is intrigued about the project but worried. The tentacles of Tetraktys are seemingly everywhere and no one is safe from the evil wrought in the darkness of the underground labyrinth.
I love Goodman’s style. Her knowledge and obvious love of the classics exudes everything she writes. Here she highlights Roman myth, especially that of Persephone, Dionysus, and the underworld. Her atmosphere and settings are superb. Having taken and actually loved Latin in high school, I am always delighted when she breaks out in verse. The only Latin I get nowadays is in Mass and it’s nice, just always the same.
I’m looking for Arcadia Falls to read next. I have also somehow missed The Sonnet Lover. Amazon here I come!