CHAPTER 1

Introduction: Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

August 2009

Smoke hung heavily over Athens. Unforgiving winds blowing out of central Europe spread searing flames toward Greece’s ancient capital. As residents fled the scorching embers and deadly heat, leaving homes and livelihoods behind to escape late August wildfires, none could have known that the conflagration pursuing them would cause the beginning of an ordeal that would dash the dreams of millions, ruin personal fortunes, topple governments, and threaten to destroy the aspirations of an entire continent long after the blaze engulfing the forests north of democracy’s birthplace was extinguished. The ashes of the pine trees, olive groves, and burned foundations left after the Greek ...

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