Hariklia's icons

A remarkable novel.

Savvas Kalenteridis

Pantelis Savvidis
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and Greek Genocide.pdf


Kostas Hrisos

Author | Συγγραφέας


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Savvas Kalederidis Σάββας Καλεντερίδης, OSTRA BOOKS, Athens 18/11/2014

I tried to find inaccuracies, historically, culturally, in customs, to fault it, but I did not succeed. Ι envy you for writing this book. I envy you, because it should’ve been me who wrote such a book.


Pantelis Savvidis Παντελής Σαββίδης, Εύξεινος Λέσχη Θεσσαλονίκης 18/11/2014

Διάβασα το “Οι Εικόνες της Χαρίκλειας” με μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον. Είχα χρόνο μόνο δύο ημερών να το διαβάσω, και με εντυπωσίασε. Με εντυπωσίασε διότι ο Κώστας Χρυσός το έγραψε από υποχρέωση προς τους προγόνους του, μια ιερή υποχρέωση, και την εκπλήρωσε, και το τιμάει ιδιαίτερα το τίμημα.


Kastanidis Theophilos President of Pontian Sociaty «Αργοναύται-Κομνηνοί»

This is a remarkable attempt to activate our memory. The difference in the recording of Kostas’ is that he complements the references in drama, using a unique writing and spirit. And it becomes more attractive to the readers, because the call and the soul of his beloved ancestors are refined by his heart. Here the two worlds meet, past and present, yet they are the same.

Excellent writing. The dialogue is very good and shows the characters very well. You get the feeling of being there. The thrust of the story is an emotive issue too and it is well told here. The writing is tight, tight as a crab's arse in fact. The narrative prose is cleaner and easy to read Enjoyed. A great book.
Fred Le Grand

I really like the voice Hariklia's icoms carries.

Richard Denning

I am impressed by you knowledge on this subject (and/or level of research). I would say that this is a period I know almost nothing about (as in I am vaguely aware of Greek/ Turkish animosities off course but no details). It was interesting therefore to read about it. Characters are well fleshed out and colourful. The writing is well edited and polished. happy to recommend

Very well written and well set in the period. The fate of Greeks is strong and menacing. This is visual, and you can smell the tobacco and see Hariklia cutting it. Wonderfully done. Her curiosity to know where her father is going is realistic and understandable. Joanna Stephen-Ward

This is a thoughtful novel and an important one: This particular conflict isn’t covered elsewhere in Literature, and it’s a definite selling point. It is well written and very enjoyable, and you can really warmed to Hariklia and her family. This should go far. Bren Verrill


The history in Hariklia’s Icons is really interesting. Kostas does a great job of creating a sense of time and place. This is due to the vivid descriptions which bring the story to life. I know little about this part of history so I am intrigued. Hariklia is well drawn, I can see her in my mind. Kostas gives us a good insight into the culture. This is well written and evocative!

A real pleasure to read Hariklia's story. It's well built. I like the expressions that let me feel the "taste" of the original language and I hope Kostas doesn't let anyone persuade him to remove them - even if they are unfamiliar to an English speaker.

I love the language and the texture of Kostas’ narrative! The subject matter (Greeks in Turkey ca. 1920) is little known in the English-speaking world. KUDOS!
Duane March

Pierre Van Rooyen

I read quality, knowledge and a great deal of work behind the manuscript. You will not find fault with this manuscript. One of the best. I reiterate, good. Very good indeed. I’m not even going to tell you why because you will find Kostas knows exactly what he is doing. Nice work how he handled the massacre information as dialogue and not narrative. So many authors here dump in formation on the reader and it stops the story dead. As I said, Kostas knows what he is doing.


Maria Luisa Lang

Fascinating. I like how Kostas begins with the crisis facing Hariklia, and the larger crisis facing the entire community, then flashback to the agreement Eleni made with Maria and Haiklia’s birth. In between, Kostas gives a detailed, vivid picture of a lost people and culture: you will be intrigued by not only the characters but their way of life with its customs and superstitions. This is historical fiction at its very best.



At once, this book has texture, the pace and punctuation going with the action. And then Hariklia’s tobacco preparation going with the verses. The time and conflict was not very familiar to me but you have narrowed this with Hariklia’s informed godmother and succinct dialogue. Then the understatement of tradition when you skip from Hariklia’s finding out about her arranged marriage to her pregnancy. Rich with natural detail between the scenes! I’ll shelve it – Katherine

James Stephen Rice

What's Greek for "bloody great read", Kostas? Beautifully written. The pace and tone are near perfection. Lyrical writing. And gripping too. It had me early, and it kept me there, engaged totally throughout. The work is moving: very emotional, without being overly dramatic or 'pantomime'. So why isn't this on more shelves? Why isn't this being raved about on the threads? Are you pushing this enough, Kostas? You should. Grab some attention out there. This should appear in Borders! It really should. I'll be looking.

I love the atmosphere Kostas have created, taking me right into Hariklia's village. I liked this, and I definitely recommend Hariklia's Icons.
Cas P

Very, very well written. Kostas’ writing skill are great. He weaves a delicate story with his carefully picked words; they can be read quickly because they are so rhythmic and smooth, and also slowly to enjoy the tone and cadence of every sentence. Well done.
Andy Roo

Hariklia’s book is great. I could learn a thing or two from it as a young author. Kostas has a talent for description I feel that I lack. The chapter remains strong throughout and keeps the reader wanting more.
Professor Iwik Mark H

Social upheaval always works at creating disturbance in a lead’s life. Good choice of time and place: I haven’t seen anything else in literature set in this time period in this location. It works.
Jack Ramsay

This is the type of book that I love. It is really well written and has such elegance and flow, it exudes Greekness and transports me into a culture that I love. The novel is so wonderfully written that it does not need any comments, just recommended and publishing. I would buy this tomorrow if it was published. The art of writing is alive and kicking on this site.

Primrose Hill

This is very beautiful storytelling, mature writing, which is written with the reader always in mind, taking the reader by the hand and transporting them to another land and culture, and a people described with deep affection. 'Sometimes things begin before they begin' How profound is that. What a resonant opening. This is certainly the most enjoyable book on this site! I want to have it near me to read it again. I shall read it with pleasure. This is very special, a book of substance. Julia.

This is a very good story.

Some wonderful character studies and an engaging plot. There are many, many things admirable about Hariklia’s icons.

Andrew S

This is wonderful stuff. Some of the best writing I've read on the site. Definitely one for the shelf. I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, especially when it's set at a time and in a place I know little about. I love the way Kostas weaves period/cultural detail into the narrative. This really is a joy to read. Fantastic stuff. I fully expect to see this book rocketing past me on the charts. Thanks. A



Poignant writing. I must also applaud the descriptive skill. This is the type of writing that would be considered optimal. I didn't find any fault. I liked the way Kostas crafts the characters and the plot. The setting is colourful and the book’s appeal came out even stronger. This is a story that should be published and one that I will easily recommend.

Kostas writes well, and his characters are definitely not flat. The writing is pretty good.
Hannibal Barca

I enjoy good historical fiction...and this, this is fantastic historical fiction. Recommended without question.

This is a wonderful read. I was dying to go on. It is written in such an approachable fashion, with such loving details. You immediately fall into the story. I can tell that you have edited it meticulously. This, to me, is extremely publishable. Shelved and backed and remembered. Nice and elegant beginning. The writing is gorgeous.
Roberto Calas

Very evocative writing and a plotline which is gripping.

Kostas has created a vivid, vibrant world for us. He has given us a flavour of a place and time of which we know too little and should be far more aware of. Bravissimo. Good use of dialogue for explanation, avoiding the pitfalls of the info-dump. A good read. Recommended.
Abu El Banat

This book is quite intriguing and refreshingly different.

Strong imagery, with dialogue upping the pacing and tension. The narrative is descriptive and easy to read. The dialogue well placed and pacing gentle with some beautiful sentences. This work is at once folky and scholarly, and it's introduced me to a world I knew nothing about.
JD Revene

Well written and an interesting concept and setting. In my opinion an agent needs to snap this up. Fingers crossed for your success.

This writing is wonderful - it is rich with culture and its characters are easy to like and become acquainted with. Recommend this with pleasure.

AnnEnglish This is a good story. I have shelved it. Sometimes you use the wrong word.
Ann English


The atmosphere you create and your use of language are unexceptionable. The delicate descriptions and languid story-telling pace are exactly appropriate for what Kostas is writing. Kostas is obviously an experienced and accomplished writer. I'm sufficiently impressed to say that it SHOULD be published. Mark.


I found this exceptional and vivid in description. I stood looking out at the village in the sunlight right alongside the MC and was equally impressed. Kostas has allowed us to picture the setting in our own mind's eye which is always a gift from an author! Johanna

Eric Rhodes

Hariklia's Icons is a lovely work of historical fiction. Kostas writes the story beautifully, lets it develop. I'm so pleased to read a few books that do allow a book to organically develop, so many feel they must start with a BANG and it's tiresome. Recommended as it deserves it. Eric

Wow! I WANT THIS BOOK!!! I loooove historical love stories and this is spectacular!!! Your writing is as good as anything out there now, more so!! Your voice is smooth and exquisite!! This is a perfect example of a best seller!! Recommended and good luck!
Tammy Snyder

Fantastic! This is high quality and a welcome relief from the chick-lit and young adult fiction (!) This is a book which I would buy as soon as I read the back cover. Well done!
David becks

John Harold McCoy

Glad I read it. I like it. Nice style. I like Hariklia and feel comfortable reading along with her. It’s really good. Nice descriptions. Just enough sprinkling of background, not too much, but enough. The writing flows nicely. Feelings are easy to follow. A fascinating plot. I think it deserves backing. Good luck with it.

Iva P.

I like the fact that the novel gives us a large historical background and describes the local customs of Pontos. The descriptions are detailed and vivid and there’s a subtle foreshadowing of the hard times that await this small Christian community. There is a touch of authenticity by sprinkling the text with Pontian Greek!

This is lovely writing, the type I really enjoy and that I read by choice - a strong evocation of time, place and character. Kostas takes me quite away from the cold reality of an English winter. Await its publication. Very beautifully done. Very recommended. Jane Alexander

Let me congratulate Kostas on a fine piece that definitely has merit. His language skills are excellent and he seems able to paint pictures with words, which is a rare talent. Kostas's got a fantastic story and one that should be told, shining a light on an event that has probably been blacked out for too many years. It's a great story and one I recommend. Alastair

Very immediate images, believable concern, loved the tobacco detail! The lovely economy of language, the sense of 'place'!

I like it and got immediately into the story with Hariklia's predicament. It's culturally strong and interesting!

Valley Woman

You must let more people know about your work. I enjoyed your rhythmic and musical qualities in Chapter 2 where you alternate one child saying a rhyme while she plays a game and another child, Hariklia, age 11 struggling with her thoughts about her father's strange behavior. This acts as a wonderful contrast, which I am sure will be played out in bigger themes in the entire novel, alternating tragedy with innocence/hope. Patricia



I enjoyed this read a great deal I love the first person POV, a sign of a good writer. The narrative is nice. I'm endeared to the girl (nosey as she is). She is so mature, needing to find out what troubles the head of the family, loving her sister, but keeping a firm hand. Loved to learn how the tobacco was cut. In the second paragraph, she stopped and admired, so she doesn't need to "pause" to ponder: she can simply ponder. Beautiful description of the hookah and its use. I've read about hookahs before, but assumed they were smoking hash or some opium product, but how would I know? The story is good and the book has depth and cultural appeal. Very well done.

An intriguing read with well-developed characters that come to life on the page. This should be in bookshops. It is truly an interesting read. Hope it goes well.

The story Kostas created is so romantic and feels magical in a way.


I'm a history buff, but the period covered by your novel is unfamiliar territory, and all the better for that. This is very well written, and painstakingly researched, and there is a strong story here to link the events. As a reflection of ordinary lives lived through times of exceptional tribulation this works very well. I got an insight into a different culture and the romance strand is both convincing and heart-rendingly touching. The secret of the book's success lies in characterisation. You bring your characters to the forefront of the tale, each having a part to play, and ensuring the reader's involvement in their lives. recommended. Jared.

The prologue is stunning. Is fate sealed before we are born? Kostas uses amazing description, “…curls that draped her face like hyacinth blossoms,” beautiful. He keeps his chapters short. I like this approach. It makes it easy to get back to the story quickly, when a person is rudely interrupted. I’ll see it in print, Charity Shindle

This is very well written with exceptional descriptions of a way-of-life passed. A beautiful story which I'm sure will be enjoyed by many. Well done. Recommended of course.

Efadul Huq

Kostas descriptions flow at a beautiful pace which is why this piece of writing is so readable. Really! I am sure many will buy this book, when it is published. To add to that, even though the lifestyle of your characters are simple, you uplift them with your prose to a level of delicacy and sophistication. That's a great thing! Good job! To end it: what a sad-sweet story! The moments of emotions are so simply etched with words and yet so profound in its effect on me. I hope to see this book in print. Efadul Huq



Kostas’ book speaks volumes on things that last and matter: traditions, a way of life, honest work. In this way, in today's instant-pleasure, 15-minutes-of-fame culture, it is very refreshing. His sense of history adds to this to, and, to me, that is the conceptual appeal of the book. But there is more. He builds character and relationships well. Hariklia, cutting and treating tobacco while watching her father, is a great case in point. She clearly worships him, wants to follow him out until her sister stops him. The use of the song her sister sings, the word "tattas" for father, all this tie her to geography, culture and history, and inform the characters. A very powerful novel!

Anthony Brady

This book has the historical sweep and poetic power of the great epics of Mythology. Like the figures portrayed in the Greek myths Kostas has wrought his in the crucible of Fate and Destiny but with truth to history described with a contemporary feel. With a book such as this in hand, there is no need to travel to Greece and Turkey. It is the sum of masterly amassed research transmuted to literature of the highest quality. Recommended. Tony Brady


Owen Quinn

A period of history I know nothing about but this reminds me of the early Dr Whos where they land in the Crusades, Marco Polo and the French Revolution and educate the reader. Kostas does this very well with his imagery and description of the setting. The first person view serves as a guide to the whole setting and other characters and works well. Very good indeed.

Kostas’ writing here has a lovely rhythm to it. This is a compelling saga, epic in its scope. It's a piece of history I'm less than familiar with but what I've read has ignited my curiosity.
John O'Brien

I am just blown away by this beautiful story and Kostas’ skilful writing. Recommended with great pleasure.
Johanna Kern

Great story here, and the voice of Kostas’ writing strikes as completely authentic. This is a compelling tale and the writing complements it perfectly. Happy to recommend it.

I have to be honest, I love Kostas’ writing. He paints a pretty picture with words and lace it with good dialogue.
T.L Tyson-Seeking Eleanor

David Fearnhead

I love that Kostas is covering this often forgotten period in history and doing so with such beautiful terms of expression. Kostas does a good job of informing those who are perhaps not so knowledgeable of the era and the politics of the time. It's a book peppered with little nuggets of golden prose. Great writing. Recommended david

Mike Gilli

I´m very impressed. It´s just SO real. It seems you were there. Congratulations. Details of weather animals, vegetation, etc which are there in abundance. The disaster, Refugees starving in caves, brilliant writing. It doesn’t dwell on their culture, which now being smashed. Excellent storytelling. Hariklia’s character is fabulous. It certainly has a strong historical interest as well as being a wonderful novel.

Owen Quinn

I knew nothing about this period of history but I do now. Kostas has obviously done his homework and it shows. There are a myriad little details that not only inform the reader but paint the setting for the story beautifully. It is also obvious Kostas enjoys writing as there is an energy on his narrative that excites. Stylish and well executed! A credit to Kostas

What an interesting book! I know little of either the time or the country, so to be pleasantly educated whilst being entertained is a bonus. Kostas’ characters stand strong and real and I can smell the tobacco leaves and coffee. Very unusual and interesting

HARIKLIA IKONS - well-written, this has an epic feel to it. A majestic narrative, a sad tragic legacy, all woven into this entrancing tale..
Evan Palmer


Kostas inspires you to think of your past and your ancestors. His novel is not mere a historical explanation, but certainly an overview of generations who passed before us. What an exciting subject he handled!! Certainly Kostas’ novel will insight each reader to think not only his own past but a past of old generations. Joy J. Kaimaparamban

Non-fiction & biography is where it's at! I love that. It is a good read because Kostas creates interest by having short paragraphs & dialogue which makes you want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I RECOMMENT
Susie Gulick

Simon Swift This really is a great read and should be enjoyed by many! Historical fiction at its very best! Good work fella!

Attention to detail can make or break a novel, and Kostas has struck the perfect balance. He furnishes the reader with enough information without bogging them down, and it's this underlying equilibrium that draws the reader into a rich, diverse and perfectly executed plot. Recommended with pleasure. Abi Knight

Fascinating book. I loved the history you created, the journey back in time and its dialogue. Very interesting. Goes without saying, well written and atmospheric also. Recommended
Rosali Webb

Extremely well written. I love the way Kostas sets the entire scene and creates such atmosphere! The narrative flows well and I like the insight into their thoughts. This has to be one of the most well written MS I've read here and reads as well as any published book. RECOMMENDED
Aimee Fry

A fascinating and very enticing book. It is well written piece of historical writing indeed. Very well researched with great descriptions! It is just a lovely read.
Carla Shmore

Existential theme in a universal sense. Beautifully written, addictive. This should be published by now.
Mushkil Gusha

Kostas has woven a great story and a masterpiece. He has done the work as professional and this was a pleasure to read. Very masterful. Love the characters. Recommended with pleasure
Yasmin Esack

Wow, this is fabulous writing and some of the best historical fiction I've seen. Thanks for the history lesson as well, the story teaches even more of the Turkish extermination of the Christians. It is so well written. The writing is flawless. This is great writing and scholarly work!
Steve Ward

Kostas has a deep looking mind that comes out in his beautiful writing. I would read any story he tells, and learn. I am looking forward to see Hariklia's Icons in the bookshops. ...Pia

This book is different and intriguing. I confess that I know nothing of the circumstances in which this is set but that is in itself a strong inducement to read. Good story, well told. I like it. I recommend it.  ...Anthony Saunders

Sandie Newman

I liked this the second I started reading it. The beginning is very powerful and sets the scene so well, it's almost like a prophecy. Then we read about the pebble, I loved the way it's making its way up, and down- brilliant. I love the way Kostas describes the guy on the balcony and even the vines on the terrace. As dry as witch's broom, brilliant! Excellent writing that has no flaws, recommended with pleasure. ...Sandie


This is an interesting story. I admit to knowing nothing about Turkish history so was a learning moment as well as a good read for me. It’s hard to make the characters in a historical novel come alive but Kostas does that well. I like the way he sprinkles Pontian words into his dialogue; just enough to make conversations sound authentic; not so much a reader is puzzled by what a character is saying. Makes this a competitive read. I recommend it.  ...Burgio


This has the feel of a timeless classic. Books based on events in a time and a place not many people write about but need to be documented are very important. This is one of those books. Fortunately the writing does history justice. It is prose poetry to my eyes and ears and brings the time alive... the colours, the smells, the deep emotions pervading a traditional society. Congratulations to the author. Recommended.


To extol the merits and outstanding literary qualities of Hariklia's Icons would be to gild the lily. This is a powerful, sensitive, but at times stark, revelation of an infamy and those caught up in the turmoil it engendered. Masterly exposition providing an exhilarating and educational experience for its readers. RECOMMENDED.  ... Robert Davidson.


Reading this gave me goose bumps. Fate! Kostas starts an argument in the mind. If fate is the directing, victorious force, then choice does not exist. Mind boggling theme here! Kostas’ storyline and characters, including the historical background are all very interesting and engaging. I liked the writing style as well, especially the short poetic interjections from time to time. There is a mystical feel to this book and there is a whole lot to look forward to which you will enjoy. Beautiful writing, highly inventive plot and interesting, credible characters. I hope he finds a publisher soon.

Anna Rossi

This book is very special. It's a period of history I know nothing about and it's a wonderful way to be educated. Kostas’ characters leap from the page and your descriptions are, at times, poetical. I love Kostas’ writing style, which has pace and flows beautifully. A compelling, unique story, well researched and beautifully told. Recommended with pleasure and I know it will go far.


What intrigued me the most about Hariklia's Icons is the subject matter, the truth of history interwoven with the fictional narrative. I wasn't initially familiar with the setting and was very pleasantly surprised to feel involved in the Hariklia's story very quickly. I can see there being a big interest in this novel, which is easy to read and so descriptive. I just know how a book makes me feel, and I definitely felt involved in the story...recommended

I just finished reading the Lightening Thief with my son. Something about this reminded me of that. I think it might have been the culture - or it could have been Kostas’ use of sound and mysterious settings (the dark figures, pitch of voice, door creaking) Kostas creates some excellent visuals here that work well. Nice work. B. J. Winters

It is a beautiful book, very emotive and I was there, in the story, every step of the way. I will read it again too, it's that sort of book. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. One of the most emotive, beautiful and enjoyable books I've read. Pauline Foster


Kostas has great skill with words. He creates a lovely atmosphere. The little girl playing stones and singing a rhyme adds a light feel to the chapter but then almost acts as music does in a horror film when we realise both Hariklia and her father are on edge. It’s very effective. In the third paragraph using conversation as a tool, he fills us in on the background of the story really nicely without feeling spoon fed. I really enjoyed the story, this is a very interesting book. It's recommended. Helena

Very impressed by Kostas’ writing and the compassion he shows for the subject. The characters here tell the story well, which starts strong and has an interesting conflict that's evident from the beginning. This is great. I recommend it. Brian Bandell

You know when you start reading something and you know from the first sentence you are going to like it. You can feel the words. It's more than reading. That is how your story was for me. There is an ancient wisdom. It reminded me of The Kite Runner. Not the story but the feel. I don't know what else to say except recommended. C.P.

Gerry McCullough

This is a very interesting book, and its plot, based on the Pontian culture, is unusual and has a lot of exciting elements, such as the danger threatened to all Christians, and the desire to save Hariklia from this. Kostas draws the characters well, especially Hariklia and Eleni, and as he tells the story partly from their points of view, the reader really gets inside their heads. I find it interesting that he is so good at empathising with the emotions of two different young girls. Of course, it is one of the basic skills needed by a writer, to be able to understand and depict people different from himself; and Kostas certainly has this one in abundance. His style is good! A good and interesting story.


Hariklia’s icons has my whole hearted support. Beautifully written with a closely observed attention to the detail that makes certain moments in life memorable and pivotal. And the small detail is brilliantly juxtaposed with the bigger picture of upheaval and estrangement. This sets itself up as a truly enthralling story, on a big ambitious canvas and every stroke has an authentic ring of poignant truth about it. The writing seems tight and finely tuned too, as if it’s been through a watertight edit.

Ohhhh this is wonderful! Kostas’s knowledge of history is amazing and he brings it all to life with impeccable writing skills. Brilliant. Recommended.
Francesca Polini

I enjoyed this story. Bravo! Recommended!
Alan Marling

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