As World War II intrudes upon their home, three young friends risk everything for freedom, love, and a chance at a better life.
On October 28th, 1940, Mussolini provides Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas with an ultimatum: either allow Axis forces to occupy their country, or face war, and Greece's response is swift. "Oxi!" they say. "No!"
In a small village nestled against the radiant waters of the Aegean Sea, we find Alexei, the son of a local fisherman, and his best friend Costa, who were both born on the same night eighteen years earlier and have been like brothers ever since, though now, like all the other young men in their village and throughout Greece, they will leave their homes to bravely fight for their country.
But before they go, Alexei asks Philia, the girl that he's loved his entire life, to marry him, which sets into motion the events which will change the lives of these three and their family and friends forever, and begins an epic and unforgettable story of courage, survival, sacrifice, the strength of the human spirit, and of a love and friendship that will echo across time and generations.
A spellbinding novel and sweeping romance that performs the remarkable feat of creating action-packed scenes, characters that we care deeply about, and revealing in vivid detail the untold true story of how Greece helped the Allies to win World War II, Once We Were Here is an unforgettable tale that pays tribute to the brave men and women who fought and gave everything for their country, for each other, and for freedom.
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER COSMOS was raised in the Midwest and attended the University of Michigan as the recipient of a Chick Evans Scholarship. He is also a screenwriter and has had his work featured in the annual Black List of best Hollywood screenplays of the year. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“Once We Were Here is a modern epic, surging with the lifeblood of Greece and her proud history. Beautiful, tragic, and achingly lovely, this story of heroism, survival, and homeland captured my heart.”
— Victoria Aveyard, #1 bestselling author of the Red Queen series
"This stirring debut by Christopher Cosmos examines the enduring costs of love and war, and the way family stories—even buried ones—set the course for generations to come. Cosmos is deeply committed not only to his characters and their harrowing experiences, but also to sharing, with insight and empathy, Greece’s powerful and often heartbreaking history."
— Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin
“Winston Churchill said that Greeks don't fight like heroes, but heroes fight like Greeks, and this story proves it; a stunning literary debut about legacy and history, war and peace, fate and destiny, the power of family and stories, and how young love can still shine and endure, even in the face of the greatest evils, and long after we're gone."
— Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire and The Legend of Bagger Vance
“Christopher Cosmos gives the reader a front-row seat to six pivotal months in the history of Greece, and the world. Full of both heroics and disasters, Once We Were Here shines a vivid light on the human costs of war, and how we inherit family legacies of love, sacrifice, and secrets.”
— Caitlin Horrocks, author of The Vexations
"As Cosmos highlights throughout the book, the Greek army’s bravery was heralded throughout the war by the Allies and Axis alike, and were likened to the Greek mythological heroes in the way they fought and resisted. I could see where Costa and Alexi stand in for those mythological heroes, modern day Greeks, marching off to war as if they were Jason or Odysseus. Romance, long journeys, war, death, tragedy and heroes? Honestly, we might just have a modern day Greek myth on our hands here! The reality is, of all western European countries, Greece resisted against the Axis for the longest time, over 200 days. Cosmos truly captures that Greek fighting spirit in his characters and the story in Once We Were Here." — Kat Cavano, Katcavano.com