NEA – Dawn of an Era

Greece in the not-so-distant future is in crisis. After years of austerity, the people are mute with fatigue and the prime minster sits idly by. However, NEA, a highly sophisticated military faction of a million Russian-trained aggrieved and mentally disturbed Greek men is about to be unleashed. the Greeks are embarking on one final crusade that could end all wars – but who is God siding with?

NEA - Dawn of an Era book cover

Is it fact or is it fiction? His press release asks, a good question in today’s world. NEA – Dawn of an Era is fiction. It is the stunning new debut novel by young Nottingham-based Greek, Georgio Konstandi.

From the press release:

“The plot largely based on truth. Although I’ve escalated the Greek socio-political unrest in NEA – Dawn of an Era, tensions are very high there at the moment. Resentment toward and alienation from their government is great. The hopelessness is real.”

“This novel is not just for Greeks,” adds Georgio, “In fact I wrote it more for non-Greeks. Of course Greeks can connect with it on a stronger personal level. If you’re fascinated by politics, this book has it all: twists, backstabbing and intergovernmental chess on an unprecedented scale. If you love violence and warfare, this book has all the gore, strategic planning and intricacies. And if you adore romance and genuine, passionate human emotion, you’ll quickly be dragged into the fierce struggle between Sophia and Artemis to survive together amid the national chaos.”

Intrigued I wanted to find out more about the young writer and his inspiration. This is not a sponsored post I was genuinely interested to find out more.

Georgio Konstandi

Georgio Konstandi

An interview with author Georgio Konstandi a student, author and political writer.

You’re 17 and your family are originally from Cyprus, tell me a little about yourself and your Greek connections?

Yes that’s right, both sets of my grandparents and my father were born in Cyprus. My father comes from a picturesque village nestled in the hills called Troulloi, which is also situated next to the ‘Green Line’ still in place today that illegally divides the island into its Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot sections. He left the island with his parents in 1974 when Turkish soldiers stormed their house in the village, lining them up against a wall to be shot. Had it not been for one of the British soldiers present at the time of the invasion recognising my grandfather from when he used to work at the Akrotiri bases, my father would have been killed and I wouldn’t be here talking to you today!

Your novel NEA – Dawn of an Era is a political futuristic thriller set in Greece. What inspired your to write this?

I originally began to write a sci-if novel when I was 15 after watching the first Hunger Games at the cinemas with my friend. The film mesmerised me. When I saw the suffering within Suzanne Collins’ dystopian society, I knew I wanted to emulate the same emotion I’d felt in the form of my own novel. Eventually I decided to move away from sci-fi and towards a political Lee Child infused with Victoria Hislop-style thriller. A lot of the politics of NEA, including the suffering of the Greek people, was inspired by current affairs and the volatile politics in Europe/Middle East today. I’ve been an active politico for some time now and I specialise in Greek/Middle Eastern affairs.

Where did inspiration for the lead characters come from, tell us a little about them?

I know many Greeks (surprise, surprise) – so I incorporated some of their main traits, eccentricities and characteristics (I’m not generalising, there are some characteristics all Greeks share!) into some of my main characters. For example, the cross-generational patriotism in the NEA – Dawn of an Era’s characters that to a multicultural society like Britain may seem overwhelming, is very real among Greeks today. They love their country; fiercely. Sophia Iliadi is the novel’s biggest female voice and is the effective protagonist of the story. I was inspired to write her as my protagonist after speaking to several young Greek women who’d arrived in my local Nottingham Greek community to escape the economic crisis in Greece. When I asked them what they wanted to do with their lives, they all gave me the same answer: find stability. That really stuck with me – because many were not in a position to do so. Those who were lucky enough to have found employment had done so through generous relatives living in the UK. The majority (of which were of a similar age to Sophia) had been sent here by their parents in a desperate attempt to find any job, with zero chance of ever returning to Greece to see their family. Sophia shares the same desire to carve out her own path of security as these Greek girls who I had the pleasure of meeting. As for what inspired my political characters in NEA… Modern day politicians give me a lot to work with!

How does the novel mirror the political situation in Greece today?

Though in NEA – Dawn of an Era, I’ve escalated the socio-economic situation, a lot of what you read is true. Youth unemployment in Greece is touching 50%, parents are abandoning their children outside orphanages with no room to accommodate them and women are being forced to turn to prostitution to feed themselves. All of this is shown dramatically in NEA. I’ve spoken with Greek parents who have come to the UK with their families to start a new life. These were the lucky ones who could afford to move – Greece’s former middle class so to speak. They told me of what they left behind and of how alienated they feel from their government. The Greeks, the founders of democracy, are slowly beginning to give up on its cause. Eight years of broken promises have ebbed away at their political participation and they’re ceasing to align themselves with any party: mainstream or fringe. I’m not suggesting Greece is on the verge of civil war …but NEA mirrors their political disenfranchisement to a T.

Why did you call the military faction NEA?

“NEA” is Greek for “new things”. The military faction that seeks to overthrow the Hellenic Parliament in the novel claims it’s leading Greece to new horizons… But for anyone who knows Greece’s political history, this concept itself is problematic.

Greece has had a military uprising in living memory did this inspire you and do you think it could happen again?

Absolutely. I was very much inspired by the fact that Greece has previously lived under a military junta and I’m fascinated by the way that historically, Greek voting patterns are right wing (excluding the recent left wing blip with SYRIZA, which is an obvious cry for help from the Greeks, who are on the whole very religious and secretly don’t feel comfortable with an atheist leader). Honestly, I believe Greece could see another civil war if EU austerity doesn’t bring prosperity soon, because the patriotism is there and the desire for change is great. It’s a question of how much patience the Greeks have however. If a civil war was to happen, it would be down to the younger generations upping arms. The fact that older Greeks still remember the catastrophe of the military rule in the 1960s-70s may deter the population for a while yet.

Given the obvious animosity between Greece and Turkey why did you choose them and Russia as sponsors of the uprising?

Good question… though in a way, you’ve just answered it! Turkey’s animosity towards Greece and her people is what facilitates a deal to be struck between the Turkish government and NEA in the book. Turkish leaders are unbothered if Greece tears herself apart by civil war… in fact, it suits them. Turkey’s evident desire in today’s politics to extend her influence from the Middle East into Europe is why the Turkish government in “NEA – Dawn of an Era” sponsors the military uprising as, in a similar way to the concerning relationship we see between Erdogan and ISIS, it seeks to buy itself a path to greater political power. As for my reasoning behind Russian sponsorship, I can’t give away too much detail but the second book in the series shall further reveal why sponsoring the military faction NEA fits perfectly with Putin’s greater political plan regarding Turkey. As we know from current affairs, Russia and Turkey often batter heads but NEA gives the two nations a chance to find a common puppet on a string to fulfill each other’s desires.

What’s your view on the way the EU has treated Greece, the financial crisis and refugee crisis?

There is no argument to support the way the EU has treated Greece since her membership to the Eurozone in 2002. The way the institution encouraged financial mismanagement within the Greek bureaucracy and then crucified the Greek people with ruthless austerity packages should leave us appalled. It is the Greek people that are now paying the price for the mistakes of their past governments who fell into the hands of greedy EU bureaucrats. It should also be noted that, whilst it was German banks who bribed Greek contractors to buy unaffordable loans, Germany is now one of the top destinations for skilled Greek workers who have since emigrated from Greece. Now, the total profits of Germany’s banks equal the debts of every other EU member put together. This is simply unacceptable. As for the refugee crisis, Greece has been left to fend for herself by a Union that claims to work for the good of all. The deal struck between Angela Merkel and Erdogan was made on the basis of Turkish membership into the EU – which if completed, would spell disaster for Europe as Turkey’s political system is fundamentally undemocratic. The deal has since turned out to be a catastrophe with only a few hundred Syrian refugees being successfully relocated to date. Greece, a country so naturally rich with culture and her people who live by the ethos of generosity and wholehearted good will, has been socio-economically beaten by a bullish European Union and IMF. As a Greek-Cypriot and someone who loves Greece, I find that very hard to live with.

We’ve seen Europe turning their back on those that need them most, Greece and the refugees, and many citizens turning more inward to their own countries. What’s your view on Britain voting to leave the EU?

I campaigned furiously to leave the EU throughout this year and I am thrilled that the British people turned out in their masses to exercise their democratic vote against an anti-democratic establishment. We should be so proud of ourselves for being bold enough to vote Leave and to stand on our own two feet. Leaving the Union doesn’t of course mean an end to European holidays and European trade – it means saying goodbye to a club that has now been overrun by corruption and elitism. As Hellenophiles, we should be delighted that our country voted for the very change that Greeks are being denied day after day. It is this starvation of hope that sees the Greeks turn to a military junta in my book, “NEA – Dawn of an Era”.

When do you plan to visit Greece and where? If you’ve already been where’s your favourite place?

I have just returned from my holiday in Cyprus, which I visit every summer and love dearly. In Cyprus, I stay in the coastal city of Larnaca, which is scattered with picturesque villages, filled with buzzing nightlife and infused with cosy tavernas. Next summer I plan on visiting some of Greece’s stunning islands with friends, including Santorini and Mykonos which have both been recommended to me. When I was six, my parents took me to Corfu – which though I enjoyed, I was perhaps too young to fully appreciate.

What’s your favourite Greek food?

Oh my goodness…how can you pin it down to one dish?! For me, it’s always going to be the classic Greek souvlaki with a pitta bread soaked in lemon. This is our answer to a Sunday roast!

What do you love most about Greece and her people?

For me, it’s their innate altruism and their huge emotional capability. Greeks feel far deeper than others: joy, sorrow, love and frustration…it’s all amplified in Greece. Their passion is what defines them – in our global society this can elevate them hugely but it can also bring them crashing down. I love them for it either way.

Lastly what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Simply: make it a story worth reading.

Get your copy of NEA – Dawn of an Era. I make a small commission for purchases made through the following link to Amazon the cost to you is the same.

You can find more writing from Georgio at New Politics. It will be interesting to see where the future takes this young writer. He’s currently studying French, Spanish and English literature at Loughborough Grammar Sixth Form.

Have you read any great books set in Greece recently and would you like to read an interview with the author? Will you be reading this one? If you enjoyed this review and found it useful please comment and share. Thank you

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