Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

From Cornwall to Amsterdam

A book I've been reading is The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva, the latest novel in the series about Israeli art restorer and agent, Gabriel Allon.

I'm just a little way into the book (audio version), but it begins when Gabriel, retired as an agent and living with his wife in Cornwall, is asked by an art dealer friend to find a stolen portrait (fictional) that Rembrandt did of Hendrickje Stoffels. Gabriel decides first to find out where the painting had been before coming into his friend's hands and visits Amsterdam, where he learns that it had been taken from a Jewish family during the German occupation of the Netherlands, when a majority of the Netherland's Jews were deported to concentration camps.

There are two things I especially like about Daniel Silva's novels: one is that I get to virtually visit interesting places around Europe and the Middle East; the other is that the novels often have much to do with art, given that Gabriel Allon is an art restorer who's good enough to have done some work for the Vatican museum :)


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