Only the Dead is part adventure story and part exploration of the moral complexities arising from war, brutality, and the desire for revenge.
As old Vartan sits reading mystical Persian poetry among the dust and disintegration of war-torn Beirut, the fluted pillars of his decaying house weathered in shadows, his thoughts wander back, inevitably, to another conflict, many years before...
Only the Dead
is the story of Vartan Nakashian, a young Armenian from Aleppo caught in the midst of a world war that is proving catastrophic for his people. We follow his journey of love, espionage, tragedy, betrayal, and revenge across the tumultuous Levant of 1915-1918, as the crucible of war and genocide makes a man of the boy we first encountered. Now advanced in years, Vartan ruminates on life, loss, guilt, and the many adventures and horrors of his youth, seeing them mirrored in the fresh catastrophe of the Lebanese Civil War.
This novel--based in part on a real man, a true story--is about the struggle to reconcile conflicting loyalties and affections, the desire for revenge, the search for atonement, and poetry's power to make sense of the human condition.