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My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

My Brother Michael (1959)

by Mary Stewart

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7981716,434 (3.85)65
  1. 00
    Death in Berlin by M. M. Kaye (Herenya)
    Herenya: Mid 20th century; overseas holidays disrupted by murder. Although the tone of the mystery differs in each, they both feature characters called Simon who have a lot in common...

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» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
The absolute joy of Mary Stewart is her ability to take you right out of this world and place you securely in her own. My Brother Michael is one of my favorite mystery/romances, with a stirring plot that moves rapidly and keeps you guessing to the end.

"Nothing ever happens to me" laments Camilla and right away we know the adventure is about to begin. Mary Stewart transformed the fainting heroine into a plucky girl regularly in her novels, but I especially love the way she takes this girl who is feeling less than confident at the outset and allows her to exhibit a very believable courage in a very scary situation.

I have set myself a goal of revisiting all of Mary Stewart's novels and this year I have done a number of them and enjoyed them all. So far, though, My Brother Michael has been my favorite of the mystery/romance genre. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
This is my favorite of Mary Stewart's books that I have read so far. It weaves history, mythology and an exotic location to make an exciting story. Her books have always made me want to travel to these locations. ( )
  judy.morrison.79 | Mar 2, 2017 |
“You find that the grave of Michael Lester is as moving and as important as the 'tomb of Agamemnon' at Mycenae, or Byron or Venizelos or Alexander. He, and the men like him, are a part of the same picture.” I stopped, and then said helplessly, “Greece. Damn it, what is that it does to one?

He was silent a moment, then he said, “I think the secret is that it belongs to all of us—to us of the West. We've learned to think in its terms, and to live in its laws. It's given us almost everything that our world has that is worth while. Truth, straight thinking, freedom, beauty. It's our second language, our second line of thought, our second country. We all have our own country—and Greece.”

On the heels of a broken engagement, 25-year-old Camilla Haven is traveling alone in Greece. Her money is almost exhausted and she'll have to return to England soon. While she's sitting in an Athens cafe trying to come up with a way to stretch her remaining money to allow for a trip to Delphi, a man appears with keys to the car that he insists she hired to drive to Delphi on a matter of life and death. There's obviously been some mistake, for the person who hired the car is described as “Simon's girl”, and Camilla doesn't know anyone named Simon. However, Camilla's six words of Greek aren't enough to get her out of this muddle. The man disappears before she can convince him he has the wrong person. With no way to return the car to its owner, she decides to drive it to Delphi and deliver it to Simon, who is surely there waiting for it. After all, it's a matter of life or death.

As luck would have it, Camilla finds Simon before she reaches Delphi, but he's as puzzled as she is about the car. Camilla feels responsible for the car, and Simon feels responsible for Camilla, so they join forces to look for another Simon. Meanwhile, this Simon has his own reason for being in Delphi. His older brother, Michael, had been there during World War II, and had died there. Simon's recent discovery of his brother's last letter home has brought him to Delphi to search for answers.

Mary Stewart helped to define the romantic suspense genre. Her novels are more than brain candy. They have weight and substance. Her main characters in this novel are well-read in the classics. They can see Homer and the pantheon of gods in the landscape and in the faces and bearing of the local residents. Readers will need to suspend their disbelief at some of the decisions required of Camilla and Simon to get them to the right location for the action to begin. The payoff is almost as rewarding as a trip to Greece, and much less expensive. ( )
2 vote cbl_tn | Oct 30, 2016 |
When I was in school I had a habit of marking the end of the semesters by choosing a book by someone like Mary Stewart or Victoria Holt in order to really feel like I was on intellectual vacation. I hadn’t read this one before, but when I saw it recently on a list of suggested readings I thought it might be a change of pace.
It is in the first person, as many of these books seem to be, and that gives it simultaneously immediacy and a slow and gradual unfolding as the heroine learns about people and situations as they happen. The first half of the book, with its scene setting (Athens, Delphi in this case) is very well done, especially as I took the time to look up (briefly) some of the references to classics and history. Once the action starts it begins to seem really dated. Everyone smokes, and the repeated use of cigarettes and matches to mark attitudes, slow down conversations and show individual styles is startling. The heroine is trying to get over a failed relationship and make her own way, and ends up making some spur of the moment decisions that involve her in some relatively unlikely scenarios. While some actions do show a bit of spunk or growth, she is pretty superfluous for the results of the final confrontation. The most dispiriting quote, as the confrontation sets up and the hero comes into view, is “I only knew that [he] didn’t move, and I remember wondering, with a sick cold little feeling, if he was afraid.” Because you wouldn’t want a man who was afraid, would you? ( )
  ehousewright | Jun 15, 2016 |
I read this Mary Stewart book as a way to visit Greece. It was an excellent visit to Greece with a lot of mystery and suspense. Her characters and plot were excellent and her writing was remarkable. This book is a real classic and I look forward to reading more of her books in the near future. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Stewartprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kopperi, Pauli A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If you do not love the Greeks, you cannot love anything. Rex Warner.
for KIM
In Loving Memory
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Nothing ever happens to me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description

Camilla Haven is on holiday alone, and wishes for some excitement. She had been sitting quietly in a crowded Athens cafe writing to her friend Elizabeth in England, "Nothing ever happens tome..."

Then, without warning, a stranger approached, thrust a set of car keys at her and pointed to a huge black touring car parked at the curb. "The car for Delphi, mademoiselle... A matter of life and death," he whispered and disappeared.

From that moment Camilla her life suddenly begins to take off when she sets out on a mysterious car journey to Delphi in the company of a charming but quietly determined Englishman named Simon Lester. Simon told Camilla he had come to the ancient Greek ruins to "appease the shade” of his brother Michael, killed some fourteen years earlier on Parnassus. From a curious letter Michael had written, Simon believed his brother had stumbled upon something of great importance hidden in the craggy reaches of the mountainside. And then Simon and Camilla learned that they were not alone in their search...

The ride was Camilla's first mistake... or perhaps she unintentionally had invoked the gods. She finds herself in the midst of an exciting, intriguing, yet dangerous adventure. An extraordinary train of events turned on a nightmare of intrigue and terror beyond her wildest daydreams.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380820757, Mass Market Paperback)

Nothing ever happened to Camilla Haven -- until a stranger approached her in a crowded Athens café, handed her the keys to a black car parked by the curb,and whispered, "A matter of life and death."

The ride was Camilla's first mistake...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

While traveling in Greece, a young Englishwoman finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game of love and revenge, which comes to a dramatic climax high on Mt. Parnassus.

» see all 2 descriptions

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