Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Giveaway: The Swan Thieves

This review is a re-post. The giveaway information is at the bottom.
Elizabeth Kostova's second novel, The Swan Thieves, is sure to be as big, if not bigger, than her first,The Historian. Told through letters and first person accounts of different characters The Swan Thieves is a sweeping story that begins in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. when famed artist Robert Oliver attacks a century-old Impressionist painting with his pocket knife. Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, himself an art lover and amateur painter is called to work with Oliver, who has been hospitalized and refuses to speak. Realizing that to be able to help Robert he must know more about him, Andrew begins a quest that takes him to the women who have loved the artist, and to a packet of ancient letters telling the story of a young female Impressionist with a tragic ending to her career.
Four romances, sweeping descriptions, and interesting, truly human characters: Is it any wonder that I couldn't put The Swan Thieves down? I absolutely had to know who had written the letters, and when that was revealed, what happened to the author after the last epistle. [FWA: fancy word alert!] Why, even though he'd always been a tempermental artist, would Robert Oliver attack the painting of Leda, a woman from Greek mythology whom Zeus visited in the form of a swan? Robert's obsessed mind is revealed to the reader through Andrew's visits with his ex-wife Kate and former lover, Mary. Through all his years as a professor, artist-in-residence, and sought-after commissions, Robert Oliver has only wanted to paint one thing. A woman's face. The same face in different lighting, styles, and clothing, and all from a memory or imagined, whichever remains to be discovered.
The one-sided correspondence from a young Parisian matron of 1879 named Beatrice de Clerval Vignon to her husband's uncle shows us the early years of the Impressionist movement, the snobbery of the Paris Salon, and the social mores of late 19th century France.
The primary characters were vividly real, each having personal goals, yet demonstrating when attaining their own desires may hurt another. Even Robert Oliver, in some ways the epitome of a narcissistic artist knows how his behavior negatively works on his family, although he ultimately is powerless to put his own wants aside. Elizabeth Kostova's writing is more tightly honed than in her first novel, which was wonderful written. In The Swan Thieves the first person accounts are each written so individually I soon was able to know who was telling the story without checking the chapter header.
I enjoyed The Swan Thievesso much that I ran out and got The Historian, which I had been reluctant to read for some time, not really having any interest in what I had perceived might be just another vampire story. As I said in my review, I  couldn't have been more wrong, and I loved the adventure and history of The Historian as much as I enjoyed the passion and artistry of The Swan Thieves.
Official FTC Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, other than the uncorrected Advance Reader Copy from Hachette Publishing Group.
Readers of the Evil Overlord are very lucky. Miriam from Hachette has generously offered me FIVE copies of The Swan Thieves to give to my readers. Leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • Leave a comment on this post telling me what exactly intrigues you about The Swan Thieves. This is required before any other entries will be considered.
  • Become a Follower of the Evil Overlord. If you are already a Follower say so in a comment.
  • Tweet this giveaway, or share it on your Facebook page.
  • Mention the giveaway on your blog.
  • The giveaway will end Sunday, January 31, 11:59 PM EST.



Diane said...

I love art and mysteries --Swan Thieves seems to be a little of both. I sure hope I win a copy. I am a follower; thanks in advance.

bostonredsoxfever AT gmail DOT com

Lung-cancer said...

I’d love the chance to win this book, so please enter me in your giveaway.

Beth said...

This intrigues me because I love mysteries, and impressionism is my favorite style of painting.

Shawn said...

This sounds great----I had read The Historian a few years back and enjoyed that----so I'll be looking forward to reading this one---have to put it on my Goodreads account...

Have a great day!

pixie13 said...

The psychological factor of this book intrigues me. Please count me in. Thanks!


pixie13 said...

GFC follower


pixie13 said...



Sue said...

I love mysteries and I love historical fiction. This looks like a great combo. Thanks for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Sandra said...

Gosh, this book sounds fabulous and is new to me; thanks for the chance to win.

Ketutar said...

I loved The Historian, and was very gladly surprised to see that Elisabeth has written another book :-) I would love to win a copy.

Ketutar said...

tweeted and facebooked :-)

nfmgirl said...

I'm intrigued by the mystery of the letters. Also the fact that it is written by Elisabeth Kostova, as I've heard such great things about her first book and have it waiting on my shelf for me.

Please count me in. Thank you!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I'm a new follower

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I love art and I love letter writing. Put the two together and mix them with mystery and suspense and romance, and it sounds like a great read! I love reading and would love to gobble these 2 books up. Thanks for the opportunity!

Anonymous said...

I love mysteries and it sounds like a real page turner! wrestlermom2 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I'm a new follower! wrestlermom2 at yahoo dot com

Emma said...

What intrigues me about The Swan Thieves is who had written the letters.The Swan Thieves sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

Marci said...

What intrigues me is this is a mystery and also that it's historical! I love that combination. Thanks for the chance to win (and for the review)!
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

What intrigues me most is how it will all turn out? The eternal question of mysteries! Thanks for the chance to win!
bethnaf at hotmail dot com

Rosanne Dingli said...

This is an exquisite novel. It's impossible to write all its delights into such a small box. I have reached the last 20 pages and have paused, because I want the pleasure of this book to go on forever.
Being a novelist myself, I can feel and sense the nuances and references written into this inspired piece of work - each character springs from the pages real: breathing, suffering, wondering, living and dying.

Lisa said...

I love those vintage envelopes.