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  • Writer's pictureJames McGee

Island of the Knights

Came back recently from a couple of weeks on Rhodes. Not somewhere I'd been before, though back in the dim and distant past I did do a minivan tour around the mainland to explore some of the ancient sites, among them: Mycenae, Delphi, Meteora and Thermopylae, before ending up in Gerolimenas, a tiny coastal village perched at the southern end of the Mani Peninsula.

It was that trip which gave me the idea for my novel Wolf's Lair, a Greece-set thriller in the same vein - or so I hoped - as those 'high adventure' yarns written by my then favourite authors, Hammond Innes, Geoffrey Jenkins, and the great Alistair Maclean.

Talking of whom; my base on this occasion was just outside Lindos, in the shadow of the spectacular line of cliffs that formed the backdrop to the classic action film The Guns of Navarone, adapted from MacLean's novel of the same name.

Although I spent most of my time chilling on the beach and catching up on my reading, I did take the opportunity to explore some of the island's hidden places as well as the 'Old Town' of Rhodes, a fascinating warren of narrow streets and winding alleyways that haven't changed in the six hundred or so years since the city was rebuilt under the Knights Hospitaller, with the most dominant feature - apart from the enclosing city wall - being the hugely imposing Palace of the Grand Master.

It was while I was in Rhodes town, attempting to avoid the horde that had just descended like a swarm of locusts from the mother of all cruise ships - honestly, it looked more like an apartment block than an ocean-going vessel and not my idea of fun in any sense of the word - that I met fellow author, John Manuel.

John lives in Rhodes and is the font of all knowledge when it comes to the island's history. His love for Greece began after a chance meeting with a half-Greek girl in a bar in his home town of Bath during the 1970s. Well, that's his story and he's sticking to it.

Any road, he moved to the island back in 2005 and hasn't looked back. Since then, he's penned a number of books, under the collective title Ramblings From Rhodes; personal accounts of the folk, flora and fauna he's encountered during his time in his adopted country. As if that wasn't enough, he also runs a popular blog - well, so he tells me... - all about life on Rhodes:

As he was kind enough to mention Wolf's Lair in his latest ramblings, the least I can do is return the favour, so if you're thinking of heading off on your hols and Rhodes beckons, then his blog is definitely worth a look-see, as is his website:

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