[. . .] a delicious novel, a cross between Homer, Conan the Barbarian, and Voltaire . . .
—Le Magazine Littéraire
As a boy, Amros the Celt decided that he would spend his life searching for the truth. In those pre-Christian days of the 6th century bce, such an ambition, he was warned, could lead to trouble. As a man, Amros still daydreams about traveling the world and fulfilling his quest. However, he is bound by responsibility to stay in one place: He has a wife and children and is the faithful jack-of-all-trades to the king, as well as his reluctant lover. A sudden violent invasion by the Cavares separates Amros from his beloved Aure and the children, and the bighearted but ruthless warrior is forced to flee. He’s captured along the way by the Greek Starcles, who makes him his slave and lover. Back in Athens, the two will be charged with a mission: to recover the precious rock of wisdom that has been stolen from the Athenian tyrant Pisistratus. The thief is none other than Pisistratus’s son Isocrate, a rebellious young man with a quest not unlike Amros’s own; he wants to travel the world in search of the truth. He has run off with the rock of wisdom to show it to the great prophets of his time. His first stop is a visit to Pythagoras, and from there he plans to press on, around the globe, to meet with the other great prophets and minds that were his contemporaries: Zarathustra, Confucius, Lao-Tseu, Bouddha, Zachary, and Heraclytus. The eighth prophet is a surprise.
Giesbert’s new novel is brimming with sensuality, sexuality, philosophy, and adventure. From Athens to Crotone, the Lubéron to Persia, and as far as Tibet, Amros and Starcles follow in the footsteps of Isocrate. After this peripatetic odyssey, Amros returns to Aure and muses in a Candide-like fashion that “man is a path that always leads back to its starting point.”