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Greek Author Robert Pefanis on His New Book Operation: Elgin Express

April 27, 2022

Robert Pefanis has been in the Communication industry for 30 years and has worked for the top media organizations in Greece. He has also taught Communication at numerous universities in Greece, Serbia, and Romania and is a frequent contributor to leading news sites in Greece and Cyprus. His new book, Operation: Elgin Express is a fast-paced adventure as an ailing Greek tycoon finances a suicide mission for a team of former spies, army veterans and patriots to steal the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum and bring them back to Athens. The book is currently available in Greek from Stafilidis Publications: https://stafilidis.gr/. The English version is expected in late 2022.

Operation: Elgin Express by Robert Pefanis. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Pefanis

Pefanis spoke with The National Herald about the book, what inspired him, and what he is working next.

TNH: Tell us a bit about your background, where did you grow up and study?

Robert Pefanis: I was born in England in 1969. I’m fortunate to be part of a multi-cultural background, predominantly Greek, with British, Irish, Italian, and spots of Ashkenazi, German, and French ancestry.

My family returned to Greece in the early 70’s. I received Greek Secondary education, a Bachelor from the American College of Greece, and a Graduate degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Leicester.

TNH: Did you always want to be a writer?

RP: I started writing Politics and Social issues articles for magazines and newspapers in the late 90’s. I currently write editorials for ethnos.gr and other Greek news sites.

I became seriously addicted to writing fiction, two years ago. My novel, Operation: Elgin Express, is one of the many to follow!

TNH: What inspired your book Operation: Elgin Express?

RP: The Elgin Marbles have been a constant obsession. I have thoroughly researched the conditions under which they were stolen from the Parthenon and have been appalled by the stubbornness of the British Museum to keep them, when it is obvious that they have been illegally removed. The Marbles are the stolen “crown jewels” of the Hellenic world and should be returned immediately.

TNH: How long did the writing process take from idea to publication?

RP: Initially, I had to deal with two issues. First of all, how could the Marbles be removed from the heart of London, without being noticed? Their total weight comes up to 200 tons! Secondly, I needed a serious twist in the plot, in order to get them to Greece, without being confiscated by the British. It took me a few months to solve these issues. From then on, it took me four months to conclude it.

TNH: What are you working on next?

RP: Operation: Elgin Express is currently available in Greek. I’m currently liaising with publishing houses in the UK, Australia and Israel, to arrange local editions of the book.  I have also held early discussions regarding the possibility of a film based on the novel.

At the same time, I’m working on a novel called Nuclear Winter, in which a few of the characters of my first book, are recruited to deal with a direct military threat to Greece’s independence, only to find themselves caught in a mission to avert World War 3! I believe that Nuclear Winter will be out in November 2022.

Further to this, I’m also working on a collection of short stories, a blend of personal experiences and situations that have clearly left their mark in our era.


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