When he was six years old, Robbie Grenn had been involved in an air crash. His parents had been killed. Sir Finsterhorn Grenn, his uncle, was now his guardian as well as the British ambassador in Athens .
Robbie survived the crash but his injuries’ were so serious that he had to learn to talk and walk again. By the time he was twenty one he could speak several languages. He was also fascinated by the famous Greek mythological stories. He was now twenty three years old and sitting in a restaurant by the harbour at Piraeus, Athens. After a few minutes he realised that the two men sitting at the table in front of him were talking in Czech. In fact one of them was the first secretary at the Czechoslovak legation. He could understand what was being said and although there was no specific talk of oil exploration in Greece, there were suggestions that this maybe the case. He was sure that there was something worth investigating even though family and friends were politely unimpressed.
Robbie decided that he would ignore them and returned to a manuscript he had been planning;
Nota **It was a simplified version of the Greek myths . ‘Zeus and his family’ being the first of various interludes where Robbie relates stories to his secretary/chauffer (Stephanie) whilst they were driving or staying through the relevant areas of Greece. Whilst many readers of these myth’s maybe fascinated by this abbreviated version I feel there may be many readers who may prefer to read these at another time. As a result I have removed these from the main body of the book.**
He decides to contact Luke Beecham, a friend of Robbie’s, as well as the chief representative in Greece for a large UK petroleum company. He promises to investigate.
In the meantime he decides to take a job at the Czech Legation. Sir Finsterhorn is not happy with his decision as it appears to have made a fool of his uncle having his nephew in this position. As a result Robbie takes a room at the ‘Hotel Grande Bretagne’. Robbie’s new job places him away from the main legation to ensure that he doesn’t ‘accidently’ come across any Czech secrets. They place him in the travel agency. The first week was getting rather boring but on the following evening a tall well dressed man arrived at the counter. He asked to see comrade Krajcir. He was one of the men that Robbie had overheard at the restaurant ten days ago. It turned out that his name was Vaclav Barak. Robbie pretended that he had to collect some letter’s from the room where the two men were talking. He overheard them discussing details of a ship called the ’Bratislava’. The ship was Czechoslovakian and was due to dock at a Greek port on Monday 31st. Robbie believed it would be full of oil and so he decided to keep a lead on the two men. He leaves a window latch open overnight so that he can see what plot(s) were being organised by the two men. It all goes well initially as he finds a file with information relating to hotel listings along with dates and various Greek locations.
All was going well for Robbie as he copied as much relevant information as possible but it just so happened that Krajcir and another man called Nejedly had also returned to the office. Robbie swept the paper’s back into the file but it was all too late. Robbie decided to fight it out with the two men. He wasn’t going to overpower them but he did manage to escape from their clutches by climbing out of an iron fire escape. The chase continued through the streets and eventually spotted his uncle’s Rolls Royce parked outside his hotel. Robbie tells Tompkins drive off quickly, which he does and in no time they had driven in to the rear of the British embassy. Finsterhorn wants Robbie to return to England. Robbie however is still keen to prove that something sinister is being organised and wants some time to prove it. Robbie needed a car but doesn’t drive and so places an advert for a chauffeur who could also carry out some secretarial duties. Robbie had virtually decided on his new assistant until a last minute call from a young lady who was insistent on taking the job that he had little option but to take her on. They discussed the details at “Floca’s” restaurant (the smartest in Athens). Stephanie turned out to be a pretty, chestnut haired, twenty four year old as well as being related to the Greek foreign secretary.
Robbie had chosen a Ford Zephyr for their trip and it arrived looking fine on the semi-circular drive. Stephanie was sat behind the wheel and Robbie’s smile was seraphic. However if he could have foretold the future that the gods had foretold for him he may have been a little less enthusiastic. They headed off on the coast road which for two thousand years had been known as, ‘The Sacred way. http://www.odysseyadventures.ca/articles/delphi/articleDelphi02a.html
They continued through Daphni and onto Corinth. Robbie explained that he was in the oil business and had to make a few visits to various companies.
Stephanie drove through Piraeus and Salonica and eventually on to the Cecil hotel in Patras where they booked two rooms, http://michaelhaag.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/alexandrias-hotel-cecil.html.
After their siesta’s Stephanie decided to do some shopping whilst Robbie went exploring. On his return he saw a tall thin man coming out of the hotel. It was Vaclav Barak, the Czech ‘stooge’ from the travel agents. Luckily he didn’t seem to see Robbie. Robbie then took a walk to the port to ask when the ‘Bratislava’ was due to dock. He was told that it was due in on Monday afternoon. That evening, Stephanie tried to teach Robbie to dance, with little success. She did however, promise to teach Robbie to drive instead. The next morning they set off via Rion and Pleuron where she gave him his first driving lesson on a very open road. Over lunch he told her that he had no need of the car for a while and headed for the docked ‘Bratislava’. It was there and so was Barak with three other men walking towards the customs shed. He also saw a man who he had seen in the Czech travel agency. There were also a group of technicians and labourers who all followed in various vehicles to their hotel. Robbie took a taxi and followed them at some distance beyond the hotel and paid the taxi driver. The men decamped at the hotel, whilst the taxi drove well past the hotel so that the men would not suspect that they had been followed.
Robbie walked back to the hotel ‘Ionia’. He went into the bar and started to chat with the men who had just arrived. After he had bought them all a drink they were more prepared to talk to him!! The discussion had just switched to oil wells when three men walked in the door, Barak, Stoll and Cepicka (the driver). Barak accused him of a being a spy and told him that the men in the bar are his men and if he doesn’t get out of Patras he will ensure by tomorrow he will break every bone in his body.
When Robbie returned to the hotel he explained all that had happened. The next morning they were on the road and clear of Petras by 09.00. Their next stop was Corinth where Robbie was keen to find out where the more suitable boring sites might be situated. The estate agent tells him that there is already a Czech drilling site there. Robbie feigned disappointment but asked where it was. He pointed to the map and said,it is known as the ‘Villa Dione’. Robbie checks the place out but is chased off by some half a dozen men and a fight ensues. Robbie decides to run off and is near to his hotel when within a hundred yards of his hotel he slowed to a walk. He could see a parked Ford Zephyr with the headlights on. Stephanie was at the wheel. Sat next to her was Vaclav Barak. Robbie was astonished and couldn’t understand why Stephanie and Barak were in the same car. Robbie flew toward the car and a fight took place. Robbie was the victor. Despite Robbie’s injuries he wanted to get on the road again and they were soon heading off. Their first stop was at an hotel Navplion in Amphiryon . http://amphitryon.gr/index.htm.
Moving on, they headed to Mycenae with its massive peaks. They also found one of the few deluxe hotels in Greece outside Athens which could be seen about a mile away from their rooms. The next day they drove into town. Stephanie wanted to go to the hair dressers whilst Robbie set about locating the ‘Czech group’ in the same way as they did in Corinth. The group had apparantly located three miles to the south of the port. He studied the place for some time and then returned to ‘Olympia’.
Robbie noticed that Stephanie had received a letter from her closest girlfriend informing her that she was going onto Olympia. Robbie however, believed that it was from Barak Vaclav. Was Stephanie betraying him? He had to find out. He ripped open the envelope and the letter seemed to confirm it. She was working for the Czech’s!! Robbie was out for revenge and he took it whilst she was changing by some bushes near the swimming pool. He raped her. It was a swinish thing to do but what was done, was done. Some minutes later she re-appeared. “Why?”. “He Rolled over and gave her the letter from his jacket.
“I see. Yes. Now I understand” Stephanie left the hotel and left the car.
Robbie decides that all he could do was to risk driving the car (very slowly) into Pirgos. He then heads to the ruined Czech ‘factory’. Unfortunately some of the men see him and grab him. Barak takes great delight in beating him senseless. Barak’s intention is to tie him to chair and later drown him at sea. After a period of eight hours the door to the barn opened. It was Stephanie. She passed a piece of paper to Robbie which stated that if he signs this piece of paper (which she offer’s him) you will swear that, you will forthwith agree to cease the investigation into the Czech affairs, leave Greece within forty eight hours and not return within six months. Alternatively you can stay in the barn until Barack comes in later in the day. He naturally agrees and signs the On the way back towards Athens, Stephanie tells Robbie that her real name is Madam Vaclav Barak. She is no longer close to him. They stop at the little town of Tropaia for a break. http://www.greece.com/photos/destinations/Peloponnese/Arkadia/Village/Tropea/Tropaia/8308601
Continuing on their way they take a blind corner in the mountain pass and Mercedes pulls out in front of them. Barak and Cepika were blocking their way. Stephanie instantly tells Robbie to get out of the car and take cover as she knows that Barak will not kill her. Robbie could hear Barak,Cepika and Stephanie arguing. Robbie started to climb the overhead cliff and shots were fired in his direction. Cepika also starts climbing the cliff and the two of them have a fist fight on the rocky slopes. Cepika loses his balance and ends up falling from quite a height on to the road below. He was obviously dead.
Barak and Stephanie were still arguing when the earth on the edge of the precipice started to crumble . Stephanie then gave a piercing scream and fell clutching empty air as she shot down into the abyss. Barak got back into the Mercedes and pushed the Ford over the edge into the gorge below. After a ten minute wait Barak drove off. Robbie climbs down to the ledge where Stephanie fell. The light was starting to fall and so were any lingering hopes of finding her. He had nearly given up hope when he caught something white in amongst the damaged earth. It was a hand. It was a herculean effort to get Stephanie back onto the ledge but with her help they made it. The two of them managed to get a lift to Mycenae where they bought some clothes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae
and then onto Argos https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argos
where they said their goodbyes to their driver. They decided to sleep at cheap hotel (to avoid attention). In the morning they take a train to Athens and book rooms at the Hotel Theodore, followed by the Hotel des Roses and then headed to the airport. They then fly to Rhodes where Roger finds out that the Bratislava had docked on April 7th.
Stephanie and Robbie were walking in the vicinity of some Czech workmen when Stephanie overhears two men discussing the heavy work being done at the site based at the Bay of Monollithos (she was able speak Czech). They then head for the site and Stephanie casually talks to one of the workers who inform him that even he is sure of what the end product was to be. They were then hailed by a couple of Americans who happened to be staying in the same hotel (Hotel des Roses) as Robbie and Stephanie. The four of them seemed to get on very well together. The American visitors names were a Mr & Mrs Henry Mahogany Brown. They all seemed to get on very well together but Robbie and Stephanie didn’t stay too long as they were concerned that the police may be looking for them. They fled to Heraklion in Crete and took yet another hotel at the Astir and ate at the ‘Glass house’ restaurant.
Stephanie comes up with the (fictitious) idea of getting Vaclav to come over to Crete so that he can assist her husband in getting him back into the communist group of which she seeks. In order to prove her faith she sends him a letter with details of where Grenn is now living. When you arrive there you can then surprise him and do as you wish. Their next thought was to locate a hideout for Robbie. They located a dilapidated old house with no electric, gas, water or sanitation. However, it would be dry and it would be unlikely to be found. They decided to hire a car and some essentials in Knossos. On their return they walked around the ruins of an old amphitheatre. Two men were smoking, one of them was talking in Czech, “dropping the cylinder in the whole went quicker than we planned” they said, “we should be home soon ”. The men then left. Stephanie and Robbie followed in the car. They stopped after twelve kilometres. Robbie got out of their car so that he could continue on foot so as not to be seen. Stephanie then drove past the path that the men had driven up. Soon after, a different man came up behind him with a gun in his hand. It was Mahogany Brown. Mahogany admits that he is a CIA agent and had been checking out on Robbie who he thought might be an English agent. Mahogany had also received confirmation that his uncle was also the British ambassador. Mahogany wasn’t too sure that Stephanie wasn’t siding with the Czech’s either. A note was waiting at the post office when they had got back to town to say that Vaclav would be arriving and a willing to meet with him. That evening the arranged meeting had been set. Robbie was waiting towards the rear of the house. It was getting dark but after a time he heard footprints. Three people walked in. Robbie waited for sometime but he couldn’t hear any voices. He crept into the dark house and he opened the door. A gun flashed and hit Robbie’s ’upper right arm, his knees buckled, he slumped to the floor and passed out. When he came to he could see Stephanie tied to a chair which was also tied to the post that supported the apex of the old ceiling. Barak was about to take revenge on Stephanie with his knife when a knock on the door stopped the proceedings. It was the police with a warrant for Robert Grenn in connection with the murder of Carl Cepicka. This was their chance to escape. Stephanie and Robbie didn’t want to be left alone in the house with Barak. Robbie gave a huge heave at the roof post, and another and then fell forward. Lumps of plaster fell to the floor. Darkness descended and he passed into oblivion. Robbie woke up in hospital. He was told that he would be unlikely to regain his arms former strength due to badly torn ligaments. Mahogany was one of the first people to visit Robbie. He was told that that the Greek security staff had managed to catch each of the groups. The plan had been to place nuclear bombs deep into rock shafts and set up a chain of earthquakes (for oil?). He was also told that Barak had been killed when the house beam fell on him
A week later, Robbie was awarded a decoration for gallantry.
The authorities were convinced that Stephanie was involved in the plot and she was about to be sent to the uranium mines where she would die a lingering death. Robbie then offers her a way out of this. He offers to marry her. This would enable her to become a British citizen. No one would then be able to return her to Czechoslovakia. It all turned out for the best in both ways as they both wanted to marry each other anyway.
The Sacred Way, in ancient Greece, was the road from Athens to Eleusis. It was so called because it was the route taken by a procession celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries. The procession to Eleusis began at Kerameikos.
Very good link with Greek mythology but does tend to become yet another tourist guide with all the Hotel names and towns.