October 2022 – Eternal City by Mark Thompson, ROME

1st October 2022

Eternal City by Mark Thompson, novel set in ROME.

Novel set in ROME

The novel is set in Cimitero Acattolico, also known as The Protestant Cemetery, The Cemetery of the English and/or Cemetery of Artists and Poets. So, what an inspired place to choose as a setting for a novel.

Novel set in ROME

Finn Chambers is a talented photographer, who travels the world on assignments. He has just proposed to fiancée, Hannah, and they are on the hunt in Rome for a ring to mark the moment. He chooses dusk to take photos but stumbles to his death into the Cimitero Acattolico, where a host of famous corpses has been laid to rest.

As he comes to, he senses that things have significantly changed for him and yes, he has died, and he is in the spirit world, joining many an illustrious character, whose homes are now the cemetery grounds. As he becomes cognisant of his plight, he sees activity around his body, police, Hannah, medics, all trying to revive him… until there is no point. He is truly dead.

He grapples with a profound sense of loss, the sense he may never see Hannah again in the flesh, as it were, although he can see her here. But she can’t see him. Gradually he starts to discover the identities of his fellow ghosts, in large part famous names, and in a way what a privilege to be able to meet Keats and Shelley amongst the denizen of this final resting place. Restful it is not, however, this is a buzzing community where the exchange of ideas is fundamental to life, and furthermore an acknowledged ease of relating, now there are no power imbalances and axes to grind.

The characters cannot wander far because they will disintegrate, so Finn is thwarted in following Hannah back home. This is his future. Forever. He contents himself with local meanderings, conversations about all manner of pressing things and he observes the comings and goings of a local car mechanic, which somehow keeps him anchored to his previous existence.

There’s a lovely level of philosophical debate (not surprising given the occupants of the cemetery) and a very good feel for the city. It is an inspired choice for setting and the author is an exceptionally good writer.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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  1. User: Mark Thompson - Author

    Posted on: 03/11/2022 at 3:43 pm

    I was so delighted to read this lovely review of Eternal City. Thank you Tina – your site is so fabulous, and brings a wealth of wonderful books to inspire the travels, and dreams, of so many readers! Wonderful! x x x