Monday, December 21, 2009

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova--a review!

The Swan Thieves
by Elizabeth Kostova
Adult fiction
Due January 2010

Elizabeth Kostova has a special place in my heart because of her interest in the Balkans, and particularly Bosnia and Bulgaria. Her first book, The Historian, is a tome about vampires, history, research, travel, and a bunch of other things I love. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like The Swan Thieves as much, simply because it was missing these elements. Happily, I was wrong.

The Swan Thieves is, above all else, the story of a psychiatrist and his quest to discover the secrets of a silent patient. Robert Oliver was arrested for attempting to destroy a painting in the Met and committed to Dr. Marlowe's facility. When Oliver stops talking, Dr. Marlowe must investigate the events leading up to Robert's arrest. As he gets deeper and deeper into the story, we begin to learn Robert Oliver's story--and that of a mysterious French painter who has been dead for almost 100 years.

Despite the lack of vampires and Bulgaria, I actually liked this book better than the last. It is much more cohesive and the characters really come to life. I especially loved all the painting that goes on throughout the novel; it made me want to take up oil painting. Watch for this one a few weeks after New Year's.

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