The Latinist

Mark Prins

Book - 2022

"In this wickedly sharp, propulsive debut, a classicist must outmaneuver her manipulative mentor. Tessa Templeton has thrived at Oxford University, under the tutelage and praise of esteemed classics professor Christopher Eccles. Yet shortly before her thesis defense, Tessa learns that Chris has sabotaged her career-and realizes their relationship is not at all what she believed. Driven by what he mistakes as love for Tessa, Chris has ensured that no other institution will offer her a position, keeping her at Oxford with him. His tactics grow more invasive as he determines to prove he has her best interests at heart. Meanwhile, Tessa scrambles to undo the damage, and makes a startling discovery about an obscure 2nd century Latin poet could launch her into academic stardom, finally freeing her from his influence. A contemporary reimagining of the Daphne and Apollo myth, The Latinist is a page-turning exploration of power, ambition, and the intertwining of love and obsession"--

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Thrillers (Fiction)
New York, NY : W. W. Norton & Company [2022]
Main Author
Mark Prins (author)
First edition
Physical Description
pages cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Prins puts a contemporary spin on the Apollo and Daphne myth in his laudable debut, which revolves around the relationship of a classical philology student and her unscrupulous mentor. Tessa Templeton is just weeks away from receiving her doctorate from Oxford when she discovers that her trusted adviser, Christopher Eccles, professor of classics at Westfaling College, has effectively sabotaged her budding career with a misleading recommendation letter that he sent to the universities she'd applied to for teaching positions--leaving her only option to accept a faculty job at Westfaling, where she would be subject to Eccles's continued scheming and enamored attention. As Tessa attempts to free herself from his obsessive manipulation, she uncovers groundbreaking revelations regarding a second-century female Roman poet with a penchant for limping iambs that could propel her career into the stratosphere. Prins's riveting tale of love, power, and possession matches deep characterization with an intriguing plot involving ancient texts, necropolises, and archaeological sites. Fans of academic thrillers will dig this. (Jan.)

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Review by Library Journal Review

In this retelling of the Daphne and Apollo myth by Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Prins, the winner of multiple scholarships, Tessa Templeton learns just before her thesis defense at Oxford that her beloved mentor, classics professor Christopher Eccles, has secretly sabotaged her chances for being offered a job at any other institution. He wants her for himself at Oxford, but Tessa has other plans.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

What do you do when you find out that the mentor supposedly advancing your career is actually sabotaging it? Oxford graduate student Tessa Templeton, just about to receive her doctorate, is stunned when an anonymous email warns, "You may want to reconsider asking Christopher Eccles for a recommendation letter in the future." Attached is a photo of a dismissive letter that has torpedoed her chances of a tenure-track university job despite her outstanding grades and a brilliant dissertation on Apollo and Daphne being considered for publication. Tessa thinks of Chris as a friend as well as her dissertation adviser; he rescued her from the University of Florida and a family of doctors who thought studying classical Latin literature was a ridiculous waste of time. True, she's been a little uneasy about how personal their relationship is, especially now that he's separated from his wife and her boyfriend has dumped her because she's too wrapped up in her work. Now she fears that Chris is scheming to keep her at Oxford in a low-pay, no-future lectureship so she'll remain under his thumb--which is exactly the case, we learn as the point of view shifts occasionally to Chris in this deftly plotted debut. There's intrigue and deception enough for a spy novel as Tessa takes off for an archaeological dig in Italy to pursue traces of Marius, an obscure second-century Latin poet whose unusual use of choliambic meter has attracted her interest, repeatedly discouraged by her adviser. Meanwhile, creepy Chris has hacked her email and is busily plotting to further damage her prospects. Events come to a satisfying climax at an Oxford conference at which Chris and Tessa deliver dueling papers, but then the author tacks on a bizarre, gothic denouement that nothing in the development of his two main characters has prepared for. The novel's subdued but pronounced feminist undertones suddenly morph into distasteful and implausible revenge porn that leaves a nasty aftertaste as the plot is hastily wrapped up. Ninety percent of a smart, twisty thriller, but the finale just doesn't work. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.