Featuring many of the characters that appeared in Petrakis’ earlier book “The Hour of the Bell,” “The Shepherds of Shadows” depicts the horrors of war in battle scenes that that echo the visceral starkness of conflict found in Homer's “Iliad.” The novel also includes a vivid portrayal of Lord Byron who, through his poetry, supported the cause of Greece’s fight for independence, inspiring the world to provide aid and volunteers for the struggle. Byron himself traveled to Greece to join the war for liberation.
Woven through the tapestry of war are stories of the love of a young guerrilla fighter for a Greek girl and her child, born of a brutal rape, as well as the love of the scribe Xanthos for a village woman widowed by the war. There are lyrical descriptions for village wedding, and of the rituals of a village funeral. And always there is the mystical overpowering presence of the Greek landscape, and its majestic past blending reality and myth, as Petrakis creates a modern epic based on one of the most savage and least known conflicts in European history.