When Sonia Verika, a former actress who takes solace in alcohol and isolation, is pulled from the fire, her body is burned almost beyond recognition. The house she shared with a retired director and a small family of African refugees is entirely destroyed, and she is the only survivor.
For her ex-lovers, Police Inspector Chronis Halkidis and Simeon Piertzovanis, a failed lawyer and the landlord of the gutted property, her fate is a heavy reckoning. Reflection gives way to guilt, and then to a fanatical desire to uncover the truth behind the blaze and hold those responsible to account - by any means necessary.
But with corruption rife throughout the force, Chronis soon finds his investigation shackled from within. Fuelled by their need for revenge, and by their twin addictions to alcohol and cocaine, Simeon and Chronis must resort increasingly to violence if they are to unmask a conspiracy that unites church and state against the interests of justice.
A classic noir thriller, Ashes is unflinching in its examination of the violence and extortion bred by corruption, but at the same time tender in its treatment of human weaknesses, of guilt, addiction and regret.
Sergios Gakas, born in Athens in 1957, studied drama at Paris-VIII and has been working as a director in Greece since 1979. He wrote four plays for children, short stories and his first novel, Kasko (Kastaniotis, 2001), was translated in French and Italian.
Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife translations (from Norwegian and Greek) include an acclaimed biography of Vidkun Quisling by Hans Fredrik Dahl, the novels of Vangelis Hatziyannidis and Gazmend Kapllani's A Short Border Handbook.