First published in 1989 Chimera was Simon Mawer’s first novel. Mawer is renowned as one of today's most talented writers of historical spy fiction.
The fabulous Chimera - mythic monster, part lion, part goat, part serpent - is more that just an Etruscan bronze discovered by archaeologist David Hewison. It lurks in the background of this novel as a symbol of the man himself: part Italian, part English, an explorer of the past who is haunted by his own past when he parachuted into wartime Italy as an SOE agent.
Yet this is not just a war story.
It is within the present, in the complex little world of an archaeological dig in central Italy, that the past is seen to work - the old conflicts of the Hewison family and the tragedies of wartime Italy surfacing in the present to precipitate a disturbing climax.