Farewell Olympus by Jack Messenger

Farewell Olympus is, I think, my best work so far. I hope you find it witty, intriguing and even a little poignant. The story it tells of rivalry and family tensions is liberally spiced with romance and mystery. The location is central Paris, so it’s a young Englishman abroad who thinks he knows his way around the culture, but who learns there is more to life than he thought.’ Jack Messenger

Farewell Olympus: Love and rivalry, ambition and morality, Armageddon and the quest for the perfect croissant.

When a patron of the arts named Serge loans him a luxurious penthouse apartment in central Paris, Howard can’t believe his luck. Now he can live cheaply while he translates articles for shortlived websites and doomed art journals nobody reads. And he’ll have more time to devote to his inscrutable French girlfriend, Delphine, a trainee lawyer.


Available in Paperback and All eBook Formats

Paris, Farewell Olympus by Jack Messenger

‘As far as the eye could see, the lights of Paris burned with betrayal. The roar of the city was a wild beast on the prowl.’

A long, hot summer in the capital of the world. Life is sweet. Until …

  • Great Characters

    Disaster strikes, in the shape of Eugene, Howard’s half-brother and personal nemesis, who sows chaos and discord wherever he goes.

  • Powerful Writing

    Howard’s uneventful life is plunged into mystery and farce. People are suddenly not what they seemed, and danger lurks in every restaurant.

  • Intriguing Storyline

    Can Howard and Eugene overcome their mutual antagonism long enough to survive? Should Howard forgive Eugene for being better looking?

Check Out What Other People Are Saying About Farewell Olympus


‘I am a reviewer from Publisher’s Weekly, and I got the privilege to review your novel Farewell Olympus. It was a stupendously hilarious yet profound read! Your ability to infuse humour into foreign espionage resurrected the clichéd mystery genre.’ (Paige Gilmar)


‘I loved this book, and since reading a pre-publication copy I've been bending the ears of anyone who’ll listen to tell them so.  I know Jack Messenger’s writing from short stories such as those in his Four American Tales, where characters are evoked through pitch-perfect voice, and a contained intensity means the stories stay with the reader long afterwards.  I was curious to see how he would fare with the novel genre, carrying with it as it does some general expectations of a fuller cast, more gradual evolution of characters and a sustained and more intricate plot with opportunities for nuanced pace. It turns out that the writing is ultimately assured, plot lines expertly played out and interwoven, and the characterisation a delight. It is also very funny … Set in Paris in the summertime, Farewell Olympus is a thriller, comedy and love story. It does include the quest for the perfect croissant, as the author has it, but also the quest for understanding, courage, white teeth and true love.  I challenge anyone not to enjoy it.’ (Goodreads review)


Farewell Olympus is a witty and sharply written comic novel with an engaging hero dazed and confused by almost everything, from his beautiful but enigmatic girlfriend to the fast-multiplying conspiracies to have him kidnapped, tortured and murdered. An intelligent pleasure.’ (Paul Hoffman, author of Scorn and The Left Hand of God trilogy)


‘A delightful farce … Messenger’s ability to convolute readers’ preconceived notions of the mystery genre creates an ending that is both surprising, entertaining, and humorous … Messenger creates some absolutely breathtaking metaphors … [his] ability to poke fun at the genre's cliches makes this work clever and fresh.’ (The BookLife Prize)


‘So well-written, with charm and humor that sits just below the surface peaking its head up to wave mischievously before getting back to business. It’s a very good book and one I’d recommend for some light, entertaining reading.’ (Amazon US review)


‘I thoroughly enjoyed this funny and evocative book, especially the witty banter and one liners of the characters. It conjures up the smells and sights and atmosphere of Paris, the values of the ‘literary set’ there and the social lives of the young arty intellectuals. The characters are amusing as seen through Howard’s eyes. The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. It would make a good film or screenplay.(Amazon UK review)


‘I was fortunate to receive a free pre-publication copy of this funny and fast-paced tale, set in Paris and featuring the hapless Howard, his devious half-brother Eugene, and a diverse cast of characters. As Howard becomes enmeshed in a series of confusing and random events, his self-esteem plummets and his suspicions of Eugene deepen … but all is not as it seems, and the various threads of the story come together in a most satisfying conclusion. The Paris setting is subtle but believeable, seen from Howard’s position as a resident, not a tourist. The city plays a key part in holding together a narrative that includes literary references, family rivalries, romance, espionage, violence (actual and implied), dry humour and farce. For me, there was a strong graphic element to this story and I had a distinct visual sense of location, action and characters. It would make an effective screenplay.’ (Amazon UK review)


Farewell Olympus is ideal holiday reading. The initially unlikeable characters grew on me. Like their own sibling relationship, I put up with their irritating ways and got quite fond of them by the end. The story was drawn in a three-dimensional way. Visuals, emotions, characters and environments all cleverly conjured. The relatable frustrations of sibling relationships – shared experience, totally different perspective, and their ability to wind you up mercilessly – were brilliantly depicted. For the duration, I inhabited the environments, especially the luxury pad. The far-fetched plot with its implausible and enjoyable twists and turns was tied up nicely by the end. An entertaining and light-hearted read.’ (Amazon UK review)


‘This is a light humourous mystery-thriller that involves pompous artistic types so if that’s your bag, you’ll enjoy this. Howard, the main character, is a struggling writer – I mean, he struggles with his career. Otherwise, he lives in an opulent Paris apartment that belongs to a friend of his who may or may not be a serious drug dealer. Howard’s father, whom he is estranged from, is an unscrupulous arms dealer. When Howard’s half-brother arrives, he threatens to kibosh Howard’s developing relationship with a lawyer girlfriend before dragging Howard into international intrigue that involves possible arms manufacturing in Cuba – or is it drugs? And why is there a hidden room in Howard’s apartment surveilling Howard plus five other apartments around the world? Who are the goons following Howard and what is this parcel Howard has to deliver on pain of death and how is Giles, Howard’s elderly bookstore-owning friend, involved? Needless to say, it all turns out all right in the end. The fun of this book is watching hapless Howard, who is something of a doormat with regards to his dashing half-brother, work out his relationships with this brother, father, standoffish girlfriend and lastly, himself. It’s a farce, this book, and it’s a lot of fun!(Amazon Canada review)


Farewell Olympus is the tale of two opposites who definitely don’t attract. Buried family resentments quickly resurface when Eugene arrives uninvited at Howard’s smart Parisian apartment with a worryingly large number of bags and the paranoid air of a man with something to hide. Is he harbouring a terrible secret? Or is his furtive behaviour another elaborate ploy to subvert Howard’s literary and romantic ambitions? Jack Messenger’s novel skilfully uses the literary device of the doppelganger or “evil twin” and adapts it in unexpected and humorous ways. Howard, a meticulous, somewhat prim author with a tendency to overthink his amorous relationships, sees his orderly life thrown into chaos by the spectacularly self-involved Eugene, who airily unleashes havoc and confusion wherever he goes. Both men become entangled in a series of increasingly perplexing (to Howard) romantic mishaps and bizarre conspiracies. Both have a fondness for martinis and a quirky taste in T-shirts. Droll and acerbic, chatty and ironic, Howard and Eugene are an odd couple who blend together in perfect (dis)harmony. Jack Messenger has a sharp ear for comic dialogue and a keen sense of the absurd. Characters speak in unreasonably calm tones that nicely contrast the novel’s incongruities. Indeed, one of the book’s primary pleasures for me is the witty banter back and forth as the two main characters strive for linguistic dominance. But there is so much else to enjoy in this hugely entertaining and elegantly written tale, which deftly combines romance, mystery, suspense, philosophy and politics with a riotous measure of farce. A tantalizing treat. I thoroughly recommend it.(Lulu review)