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The Tomb of Zeus (Laetitia Talbot #1)

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  688 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
With the same flawless storytelling that earned her the CWA Historical Dagger Award, Barbara Cleverly delivers a dazzling new novel. Sweeping us to the exotic island of Crete in 1928, Cleverly introduces a marvelous new heroine: whip-smart and spirited Laetitia Talbot, an aspiring archaeologist with a passion for adventure–and for the mysteries that only the keenest eyes c ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Delta (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jan 25, 2009 Christine rated it it was ok
This book really wanted to be good, worked super hard on it, put it lots of different things to try to keep your attention and then....not so much. It started off really slowly, but picked up and was honestly interesting for most of the middle part, but completely fell apart at the end. There were just too many threads to pull together, and too many coincedences required to make those threads come together coherently. Worse yet, the archeology in the book felt completely extraneous, even though, ...more
Deon Stonehouse
The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly reminds me of the luscious MM Kaye books set in exotic locations. Cleverly’s latest book takes place on Crete in 1928. Letty arrives to begin her career in archeology under the eye of Theodore Russell, an arrogant retired naval officer turned archeologist. Theodore is rude to his guests and nasty to his lovely wife Phoebe. Finding William firmly ensconced in the Russell household surprises Letty, the last time she saw William he was running away from her plan ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Tina rated it did not like it
Blech. Book 2 of the mystery book club. Finally quit reading at page 160 because I just didn't care, no matter how hard I tried. Presumably this is an award winning writer, but I can't imagine how or why.
Mar 06, 2017 Phair rated it liked it
While I liked the archaeological content I found the story somewhat plodding. Though #1 in the series there were several references to the past relationship between Lettie and William that made me feel I had missed a previous book. I'm sure all will come clear in future entries but I still hate being teased like that. From this first taste I would not place the Laetitia Talbot series among my favorites of Cleverly's series.
As I've often posted about before, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series. And as y'all might guess with my recent post about finishing up Queen of Souls, I dig me some Greek mythology. So when I happened across The Tomb of Zeus on the new releases shelf in the Mystery section at Barnes & Noble the other night, I couldn't help but be interested: a period novel set in the 1920's, a woman doing archaeology, and moreover, doing it on the isle of Crete. Bitchin'. Sign me up.

Jan 09, 2012 Marfita rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janice Liedl
Apr 21, 2013 Janice Liedl rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
An excellent historical mystery with a touch of romance. Laetitia Talbot arrives in Cyprus ready to work as an archaeologist, aiming to join into the thriving exploration of Minoan culture carried out by the likes of Arthur Evans and her somewhat less illustrious host, former British naval officer, Theodore Russell. Unfortunately for Laetitia, there are roadblocks to her ambitions, not the least of which is an unexpected death.

The archaeology storyline is intriguing but under-developed. I'm left
Gail Chall
Yep, finished.....finally. Funny thing, Goodreads is having a problem saving my rating...barely 1 star. At first I thought I'd like this story because I really enjoy archeology coupled with my favorite genre--mystery. Eagerly, I looked forward to reading about the quest for the tomb. Instead, this book turned into a badly written Victorian love story which became stupid, no, not even stupid, just silly, and I found myself giggling about the various events. Wouldn't have finished it at all, but I ...more
Nov 03, 2008 Jeanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
1928. The Island of Crete. Dilettante Laetitia Talbot has arrived for an archaeological dig. Surrounded by men, she is determined to prove her prowess.

But before any digging may commence, her host's wife hangs herself. Or did she? Following her death, her host's son drives off a cliff. What's going on? And how long will it take Letty to figure it all out?

Well, I thought that Letty would be a plucky Amelia Peabody sort of heroine. She's not. And I couldn't really understand the appeal of our sleu
Feb 29, 2012 Bee rated it did not like it
It's unfortunate (for me) that this was compared to the Amelia Peabody series, as I went in with higher expectations -- not necessarily of literary genius, but of witty characters and an enjoyable mystery.

Honestly, I tried to muddle through this and eventually gave up. The characters were unlikeable and not interesting and the writing was on the dry side. Also, and this could absolutely just be a twitchy pet peeve of mine, but I've never seen so many exclamation marks in sentences before, to the
Jan 10, 2012 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Eh. Not up to the Sandilands books, I think this one tried to do too much. Romance, archaeology, mystery, bright-young-thing historical - and everything suffered in the end. I was particularly disappointed with the archaeology. The finds were lovingly described and clearly meant to drive the plot and add layers of depth and foreshadowing to the "modern" stories, but the author didn't give us enough to work with. The finds ended up being ancillary at best.

Parts of it reminded me of watching a tod
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
c2008. It was a good enough story to keep me reading but it really was more fluff than flavour. I thought the characters were fairly one dimensional and the best parts had to do with the myths. I will not rush out to obtain any more in the series. Can you believe that the horrid phrase "living rock" appeared in the story as well. Does Ms Cleverley write fantasy under another name? (Not a real question)
Jun 27, 2010 Michael rated it it was ok
I'd give this 2.5 stars. I liked the setting (Crete) and Letty is a strong female character. But I felt there was too much on the archaeology and not enough worrying about the death of Phoebe and catching her murderer. I also felt the ending was rushed, and I guessed the identity of the child in the prologue well before the end (well at least that made me feel clever.)
Jul 17, 2011 Elissa rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
The writing was pretty good, but I have to say I was a bit turned off by the main character. Also, I didn't feel like it was completely historically accurate- especially the dialog. But not a bad mystery novel.
Laurie D'ghent
Okay. I was more interested in the historical, 1920s lifestyle and the Crete stuff than the actual story. Nothing super offensive, mild swearing, innuendo, anatomy talk, etc.
Jan 18, 2015 Stuart rated it really liked it
This is the first book in a new (to me) series by Barbara Cleverly, featuring the rich young aristocrat and aspiring archaeologist Laetitia Talbot. It is set on Crete in 1928, and features a lot of archeology with the mystery / crime almost secondary. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – the book is very good.
In this story, Letty (as she is known) heads to Crete, recommended by her mentor, as a guest of the famous archaeologist Theodore Russell. Russell is a celebrity archeologist pretty much in
Jan 09, 2008 LJ rated it really liked it
THE TOMB OF ZEUS (Amateur Sleuth-Laetitia Talbot-Crete-1928) – VG
Cleverly, Barbara – Standalone
Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2007, US Trade paperback, ISBN: 9780385339902

First Sentence: The big gates were in sight and were standing open.

*** Laetitia Talbot is an aspiring archaeologist who has come to Crete. There she finds a man she’s known before, her host, Theodore Russell who is looking for the Tomb of Zeus and has assigned Laetitla a site for her dig, and his charismatic wife, Phoebe. Laetitia fin
Carolyn Hill
May 16, 2010 Carolyn Hill rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but then its setting in Heraklion, Crete, and an archaeological excavation near Knossos was of particular interest to me. I studied archaeology in college and was fortunate to spend a wonderful summer as a student in Greece, which included study of the Minoan civilization on Crete. It was not only my favorite era, but my favorite place (except for maybe Delphi). So this story, the first in a series, which features a young British female archaeologist in 1928 and her first ex ...more
Vic Lauterbach
Apr 05, 2016 Vic Lauterbach rated it liked it
Archeologist turned detective Laetitia ‘Letty’ Talbot’s first outing is set in 1928 Crete, and both the archeology and the mystery take time to develop. The first third of the book is slow, the middle third is quite good, and the last third workmanlike. The evocation of pre-WWII Crete is well done but feels like justification for her research, although the background does play a role in the story. The few times Ms. Cleverly strays from Cretan history are weak points such as when the odious schol ...more
A very well written mystery set in 1928 Crete. The main character Laetitia Talbot (Letty) is embarking on her very first archaeological dig that she is sponsoring. She feels priviledged to be housed in the grand home of famous archeaologist George Russell. However, starting from the very first night after her arrival, she finds herself caught in the grips an ominous atmosphere created by Russell due to his carefully disguised brutal character. Caught up in this grueling climate are many other pe ...more
BOTTOM LINE: #1 Letty Talbot, archeologist, Crete, 1920s. Layer upon layer of intrigue, nasty doings, and innuendo wreathed around a wonderfully plotted tale of darkness and death, and most of the characters are very good. This would have been a superb novel except for Letty herself - she’s surprisingly weakly drawn; we never truly feel with, or for, her, and this is a major omission.

Young Letty has landed a plum job, or at least it seems so at first: managing a new excavation site in the mount
Cheryl A
Oct 07, 2010 Cheryl A rated it liked it
Laetitia "Letty" Talbot is off on her first archaeology dig in the mountains of Crete. Staying with her host, Theodore Russell, one of the islands' leading archaeological experts, and his wife Phoebe, along with two other students and the artist/architect of the group, Letty finds herself in the midst of a number of power struggles. When Phoebe is discovered hanging in her room, the tension ramps up even more.

As the local police try to determine the true cause of death as well as any motives fo
Dec 17, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Clever dialogue, a feisty and intelligent heroine, along with vivid descriptions of the culture and landscape of Crete circa 1928 meld to create a perfect historical mystery. Fans of Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody series) and Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs series) will be equally charmed by this first book in the Laetitia Talbot series.
Laetitia Talbot finds herself not quite welcome at Villa Europa, the home of Theodore Russell who is a prominent archaeologist on the island of Crete. Laetit
Tamora Pierce
Set in the 1920s on Crete as the archaelogical boom rolls on, Laetitia is trying to make it as a female archaeologist. She sponsors a dig under the aegis of a local archaeological sponsor and member of the upper class who has definite issues with women, including Letty and even his lovely young second wife. Things go haywire when Phoebe is murdered and suspicion is promptly cast on the bigwig's handsome son by his first marriage.

There are twists within twists here, plus a little romance, but my
Jul 23, 2014 Jan rated it liked it
Gift from a friend.

Story: Letty is a rich kid interested in Archeology. The time frame is 1928. Letty is a modern women, however, men have yet to accept modern women.

She is off to Crete to work on a dig. On the boat to Crete Letty meets George, who is the son of the household she is going to stay at. Also his father is to be her boss. She is looking forward to this dig until she meets the father Theodore Russell who is a total jerk. His second wife, is lovely and Letty immediately warms to her.

Mar 29, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little slow, but almost as much of a historical fiction book and romance as it is a mystery.

The main character "Letty" Talbot travels to Crete to work as an archaeologist paid to find the Tomb of Zeus. She meets some unique people and is dragged into an intricate web of love, death, and family.

I enjoyed this book over all, but I'm not as into romances as others are so this wasn't as good for me as I'm sure it was for others. It was a little confusing (but not in a 'good' way for
Feb 23, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it

My first Barbara Cleverly read..overall it was pleasant story with terrific use of imagery. The reader is introduced to Laetitia Talbot, a female archaeologist who receives her first assignment in Crete through unconventional ways. Born into a life of privilege, Laetitia enters her first assignment with bravado and class. She is surprised to find in her assignment a past love, a bold host with high aspirations (those who stand in the way of them be warned), a lovely young wife with a secret, an
Rossrn Nunamaker
Mar 03, 2009 Rossrn Nunamaker rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Read, but didn't finish. Was so bummed out, but I tried and tried and simply couldn't get into this book. I did make it to page 79 in paperback, but after more than once asking why I was still reading, decided to stop.

I'd read a couple of Cleverly's Joe Sandilands books and really liked them. So much so, that while waiting for Steve Berry's latest to get returned to the library and Matthew Pearl's to be released I gave this a shot.

It was awfully slow and not very fluid. There was nothing to grab
Aug 12, 2013 Carlin added it
Shelves: on-kindle
Fun! I love the character, Leatitia Talbot, an amateur archeologist and a very modern young woman for her era between the two World Wars. Although I was an anthropology major, I confess to knowing very little about the Minoan culture on Crete (2700 - 1300 B.C.) compared to the ancient world of the Egyptian pharaohs (3000 - 323 B.C.). So this mystery, set in Crete and involving a Minoan archeological dig, facinated me, not only as a mystery, but also for the setting. I will definitely look for ot ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
Laetitia Talbot arrives on the island of Crete in 1928 ready to join the British archaeological community there. Having been invited to live at the Villa Europa, home of up and coming archaeologist Theo Russell and his family, she finds an uncomfortable environment which she longs to abandon for scruffy quarters among the student archaeologists A seeming suicide and a nearly fatal auto accident turn the island into a hotbed of rumor and suspicion within days of her arrival. I loved this because ...more
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Barbara Cleverly was born in the north of England and is a graduate of Durham University. A former teacher, she has spent her working life in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk; she now lives in Cambridge. She has one son and five step-children.

Her Joe Sandilands series of books set against the background of the British Raj was inspired by the contents of a battered old tin trunk that she found in her att
More about Barbara Cleverly...

Other Books in the Series

Laetitia Talbot (3 books)
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