Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia
  • Location: Athens

The Figurine

The Figurine

Why a Booktrail?

1968, 2023: The questionable acquisition of cultural treasures and the price people – and countries – will pay to cling on to them.

  • ISBN: 978-1472263933
  • Genre: Historical, Inspired by true events

What you need to know before your trail

Of all the ancient art that captures the imagination, none is more appealing than the Cycladic figurine. An air of mystery swirls around these statuettes from the Bronze Age and they are highly sought after by collectors – and looters – alike.

When Helena inherits her grandparents’ apartment in Athens, she is overwhelmed with memories of the summers she spent there as a child, when Greece was under a brutal military dictatorship. Her remote, cruel grandfather was one of the regime’s generals and as she sifts through the dusty rooms, Helena discovers an array of valuable objects and antiquities. How did her grandfather amass such a trove? What human price was paid for them?

Helena’s desire to find answers about her heritage dovetails with a growing curiosity for archaeology, ignited by a summer spent with volunteers on a dig on an Aegean island. Their finds fuel her determination to protect the precious fragments recovered from the baked earth – and to understand the origins of her grandfather’s collection.

Helena’s attempt to make amends for some of her grandfather’s actions sees her wrestle with the meaning of ‘home’, both in relation to looted objects of antiquity … and herself.

Travel Guide

Athens locations in The Figurine

Museum of Cycladic Art

The museum’s story is at the heart of the novel so well worth a visit!

Acropolis Museum

The author mentions this in her thank yous.

National Archaeological Museum


The marbles from here form part of a very interesting story.

Lycabettus Hill

Lycabettus hill is the highest point in the center of Athens. Thousands of Athenians and tourists climb up to the top every year in order to enjoy the view. Helen likes this view.

Booktrailer Review

You can always rely on Victoria Hislop to transport you to Greece. This is a very special novel and the start of it really feels like a whirlwind tour of the country and its culture. Scene set and then the story of fact and fiction walk in and wow, this is a novel to savour and make you think. Who owns culture and cultural statues? Where should it be stored and kept so that we can all enjoy it and save it for future generations?

I can see why Victoria wrote this as it’s one of the novels to savour, to speak to us all and to showcase not only her love of Greece but her understanding and appreciation of it.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The List of Suspicious Things

Destination: Athens  Author/guide: Victoria Hislop   Departure Time:1968,  2023

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