Title: The Forgery of Venus
Author: Michael Gruber
First published January 1, 2008
318 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780060874483 (ISBN10: 0060874481)
Meet Chaz Wilmot, a painter who defies the trends of his time. With a mastery of the techniques of the old masters, Chaz can paint like Leonardo, Goya, and Gainsborough, but the world is no longer interested in his style.
Forced to make a living by churning out parodies for advertisements and magazine covers, his life changes when he is commissioned to restore a Venetian palace fresco by the eighteenth-century master Tiepolo. But what he discovers in Venice is not a restoration but a re-creation, indeed a forgery.
Against his better judgment, he throws himself into the job, and his re-creation is so convincing that even the experts can’t tell the difference.”
Chaz’s work attracts the attention of Werner Krebs, an art dealer with a dark past and an even shadier present, who becomes Chaz’s friend and patron. Suddenly, Chaz is working with a fervor he hasn’t felt in years, but strange interludes accompany his burst of creative activity.
He finds himself reliving moments from his past, not as memories but as if they are happening all over again. Soon, he believes he can travel back to the seventeenth century, where he lived as the Spanish artist Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez, one of the most famous painters in history.
As Chaz gets lost in his own illusions and hallucinations, he is propelled into a secret world of gangsters, greed, and murder, with his mystery patron at the center of it all, either as the mastermind behind a plot to forge a painting worth hundreds of millions, or as the man who will save Chaz from obscurity and madness. The Forgery of Venus is a thrilling and thought-provoking novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
About the Author
Meet Michael Gruber, an accomplished author who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. He holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Miami and earned his degree from Columbia University.
His professional pursuits are diverse and include stints as a cook, marine biologist, speech writer, policy advisor for the Jimmy Carter White House, and bureaucrat for the EPA. However, he is best known for his work as a novelist.
Gruber’s writing career kicked off with the Butch Karp novels, a popular series that he is widely believed to have ghostwritten for Robert K. Tanenbaum.
The partnership eventually ended, leading Gruber to publish his own novels through William Morrow and HarperCollins. While his “Jimmy Paz” trilogy received critical acclaim, it didn’t gain the same level of popularity in the United States as the Butch Karp series.
That all changed with the release of The Book of Air and Shadows in March of 2007. The national bestseller cemented Gruber’s status as a talented and successful author.
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber is a masterfully crafted novel that takes readers on a thrilling journey through the art world of Barcelona, Spain. Gruber is a renowned author and former ghostwriter who has written several bestselling books, but The Forgery of Venus is arguably his most ambitious work yet.
The book was first published on January 1, 2008, and has since received widespread critical acclaim for its intricate plot, well-drawn characters, and lush descriptions of the Spanish landscape.
The Forgery of Venus is a literary thriller that blends elements of mystery, romance, and art history. The story follows Chaz Wilmot, a struggling artist who is approached by a wealthy art collector to forge a lost masterpiece by the famous Spanish painter, Velazquez.
Chaz initially refuses, but when he falls in love with the collector’s beautiful wife, he agrees to take on the challenge. As he delves deeper into the project, Chaz uncovers a shocking conspiracy that threatens to destroy his life and the lives of those he loves.
Gruber’s writing style is rich and evocative, transporting readers to the streets of Barcelona and the halls of the art museums where the characters interact. He paints a vivid picture of the city’s architecture, food, and culture, giving readers a sense of the place’s history and beauty.
The characters are complex and well-rounded, with their own motivations and secrets that are gradually revealed as the story progresses.
One of the book’s major strengths is its exploration of the themes of love, art, and truth. Gruber uses the character of Chaz to explore the tension between artistic integrity and financial gain, as well as the blurred lines between authenticity and forgery in the art world.
The novel also delves into the nature of love and its ability to both inspire and corrupt.
The Forgery of Venus is not without its flaws, however. Some readers may find the plot to be slow-moving at times, and the ending may feel somewhat rushed and unsatisfying.
Additionally, the book’s exploration of the art world may be too niche for some readers who are not interested in the subject.
Despite these limitations, The Forgery of Venus is a must-read for fans of literary thrillers and art history. Gruber’s writing is masterful, and his characters are captivating.
The book is a testament to the power of storytelling to transport readers to new worlds and make them question their own assumptions about art, love, and truth.
Overall, I would highly recommend The Forgery of Venus to anyone looking for a thought-provoking and engaging read. I would give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, based on its exceptional writing, well-drawn characters, and exploration of complex themes.