This captivating Mediterranean novel was written by Lawrence Durrell immediately after finishing his exquisite vignette about Corfu, Prospero's Cell, and a decade before he started Justine. Originally called Cefalu, the story is set on Crete just after the War, as an odd assortment of English travellers come ashore from a cruise ship to explore the island, and in particular to examine a dangerous local labyrinth. They include an extrovert painter, a spiritualist, a Protestant spinster with a fox terrier, an antiquarian peer and minor poet, a soldier with guilty memories of the Cretan resistance, a pretty convalescent, and an eccentric married couple. To some extent the book is a roman a clef, and Durrell's characters talk with great reality about their experiences, themselves, and a certain psychological unease that has led most of them to embark on their journey. The climax is a disastrous visit to the labyrinth, with its reported minotaur. The Dark Labyrinth is something not to be missed.
'The writing is nearly always superb, not only in the great passages of poetical description but also in the asides, the casual wit and the brilliance of comment.' Philip Toynbee, Observer