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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Travels in Elysium by William Azuski is an amazing tale, mixing ancient legend and modern psychology as Nicholas Pedrosa tackles his first real job on an archaeological dig on a Greek island. With an interesting cast of characters led by the chief scientist, Marcus Huxley, the group plunges into the depths of the human search for the meaning of life and an explanation of what comes after death as they delve deeper and deeper under the pumice and ash deposited three millennia earlier by the volcano that all but destroyed the island. Several deaths, along with pressing political and professional issues, complicate the emotional and working relationships between the scientific team and the islanders who alternate between wanting the dig to be a success and wishing the foreigners would leave. Each character struggles with their personal philosophies as infamous Dr. Huxley relentlessly pushes them to tear aside the veil between this world and the next.
Many views about life after death are examined in Travels in Elysium as the author follows the emotional turmoil created by an archaeologist desperately searching for the elusive island of Atlantis. Fantastic visual pictures are created with amazing clarity as the past and present are blended in the minds and spirits of the characters. A full range of human virtues and failings are examined from several points of view. Nick Pedrosa experiences his own growth and weaknesses through the careful manipulation of his boss, the archaeologist Marcus Huxley. Each character is realistically portrayed and plays his or her role beautifully as the story unfolds, forcing each of them to face some very hard truths. This is a bold tale that puts the best and worst in people under the microscope.