ODE TO THE PAST (with the occasional nod to the present)

The Review That Matters

September 9, 2015

Tags: The Oracle, D.J. Niko, Sarah Weston, Delphi, archeological thriller, ancient Greece

As we gear up for the release of THE ORACLE on November 10, reviews are beginning to trickle in. There is this one from Booklist:

"Thereís a good, solid story here, but the real attraction is the authorís development of the relationship between Sarah and Daniel. ... [The] story arc involving the seriesí two lead characters enriches each book and makes the series more than just a collection of independent thrillers."

Thank you, reviewer David Pitt. (David has reviewed, favorably, the entire trilogy.)

And this from the lovely blogger The Lit Bitch:

"Niko has such as vast knowledge of the ancient world and I am perpetually amazed at just how much she knows! Her knowledge and research brings authenticity and wonder to the story."

But the one that really matters is the one I received yesterday from my mother. With trembling voice she said: "Your book ... amazing. Mark my words: it will be a movie."

Now, you might think that all moms like all books by their children, and they have nothing but praise. Not so! With the past two books, I had to ask: "Mom, did you read the book?"

Each time, I got a dry "yes."

"Did you ... you know ... like it?"

"Sure ... It's pretty good."

Sounds polite enough, but "pretty good" is pretty much an indictment. Don't get me wrong: my mom is proud of me, and she tells everyone about my books. But she's a harsh critic. Her taste leans more toward Khaled Hosseini and Jhumpa Lahiri. She likes emotionally charged, character-driven literary works. (Nothing wrong with that. So do I.) So to get that kind of enthusiasm about THE ORACLE is monumental, especially since the book is set in Greece, our native land. No doubt she scrutinized my handling of the setting; apparently, it passed muster!

Whether the story is a homerun or not will ultimately be determined by my readers. But I can't help but feel a sense of relief at the words of my ultimate critic.


  1. November 17, 2015 6:04 PM EST
    This post was so touching! Having one's mother like and appreciate one's creative efforts is always desirable. Not all artists get that. Especially if one's work is in memoir or semi-autobiographical. Erica Jong gives great advice on this in a PEN talk available on YouTube.

    Your mother has much to be proud of in you. I read a LOT and have been completed enchanted with the Sarah Weston Chronicles! I love historical novels. They give me the opportunity to travel to places I may never experience. Plus Dr. Weston is an admirable protagonist: Highly intelligent, well-educated and driven by her principles. Every young woman can find much to admire and emulate in her.

    This week I ripped through, "The Tenth Saint," and went right to Kindle and read, "The Solomon Riddle." Both great books. My husband was amused by the level of concentration I kept up. Walking through the house with my face glued to my iPhone; getting up to go to the bathroom at night, he chuckled as I read on using the backlit screen of the Kindle App. He loves that I'm not using my bedside lamp which sometimes disturbs him. Today I confiscated his Kindle which he never uses so I can have access to a bigger screen and share the Sarah Weston books with him. He's also a big reader.

    You've began an amazing series! I learned so much about an area of the world about which I knew little. I was fascinate by, "Sand and Myrrrh" the only book I had ever read before about the Middle East. It features the voices of four women living in Jordan from very different socio-economic backgrounds. It wet my appetite for your series.

    Keep up the great work!
    - AJ Flamingo
  2. November 18, 2015 5:16 AM EST
    Thank you so much for this lovely comment! I'm so happy you are enjoying the books. A lot goes into them: research, yes, but also emotion, conviction ... a piece of the writer's soul. Keep reading and enjoying, and please consider reviewing on Amazon and Goodreads if you have the time. Reviews help get the word out!
    - Daphne Nikolopoulos

Selected Works

Historical Fiction
A story of passion and betrayal, faith and sacrifice, and the fall of an empire.
Sarah Weston uncovers a long-lost Greek artifact--and a plot to build the ultimate terrorist weapon.
Sarah Weston races to uncover an ancient message with explosive implications for modern Israel.
The first in a series of archaeological thrillers featuring gritty aristocrat Sarah Weston.

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