The Olcinium Trinity
Published by Istros Books
Olcinium, the Latin name for present-day Ulcinj, is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast and ruled in turn by the Illyrians, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans, as well as being an important Venetian port and a centre for the slave trade. It was also home to Fra Dolcino, a medieval heretic who announced the return of the Messiah and Sabbatai Zevi, a Renaissance cabalist who maintained that he was the Messiah and according to legend left behind sacred writings, The Book of Return: Both make appearances in this trilogy.
The Olcinium Trilogy brings together three of Nikolaidis’ short novels: The Son, The Coming and Till Kingdom Come, which together encompass an apocalyptic vision of this ancient town; where mystics have prophesized, regimes plotted against their citizenry and ordinary people resorted to crime and deceit in order to survive. Like his literary hero, Thomas Bernhard, Nikolaids’ prose is precise and bitingly funny and his protagonists hopeless misanthropes: from the local sleuth who sacrifices truth for the sake of telling his clients the stories they want to hear to the local reporter who discovers that his own past was concocted by Yugoslav secret services and enters a state of time-travelling paranoia.