Modigliani. Unarguably one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Modigliani's women. Those elongated, haunting figures, as eternally provocative as the Mona Lisa. Adn Modigliani's missing masterpiece. A priceless lost treasure - or a chillingly dangerous game? Up and coming artist Peter Usher has still to exhibit anywhere, still to make even the most modest mark on the London art scene. But as rumour turns to reality, Usher finds himself caught up in a race to uncover the shadowy figures behind a breathtaking scam. Will art genius ever be rewarded? Will the brush prove more deadly than the gun?
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Ken Follett is one of the world’s best-loved authors, selling more than 160 million copies of his thirty books. Follett’s first bestseller was Eye of the Needle, a spy story set in the Second World War.
In 1989 The Pillars of the Earth was published, and has since become the author’s most successful novel. It reached number one on bestseller lists around the world and was an Oprah’s Book Club pick.
Its sequels, World Without End and A Column of Fire, proved equally popular, and the Kingsbridge series has sold 38 million copies worldwide.
Follett lives in Hertfordshire, England, with his wife Barbara. Between them they have five children, six grandchildren, and three Labradors.
Table of Contents
PART ONE - Priming the Canvas
PART TWO - The Landscape
PART THREE - Figures in the Foreground
PART FOUR - The Varnish
The Modigliani Scandal
A high-speed, high-stakes thriller from Ken Follett,
the grand master of international action and
A fabulous ″lost masterpiece″ becomes the ultimate prize-for an art historian whose ambition consumes everyone around her, an angry young painter with a plan for revenge on the art establishment, and a desperate gallery owner who may have double-crossed his own life away. Behind the elegance and glamour of the art world, anything goes—theft, forgery, betrayal, and maybe even murder....
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF KEN FOLLETT
″[A] celebration of uncommon courage and unlikely heroes.″
—The Baltimore Sun
CODE TO ZERO
—The New York Times
″This spy thriller is Follett at his best.″
THE HAMMER OF EDEN
″Hammer will nail readers to their seats.″
″Follett ratchets up the Richter scale of suspense.″
THE THIRD TWIN
″Follett really knows how to tell a story.″
—The Atlanta journal-Constitution
″His scenes whip along. And his ending is absolutely smashing.″
A PLACE CALLED FREEDOM
″An altogether entertaining reading experience.″
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
A DANGEROUS FORTUNE
″A terrific page-turner. Careening thrills ... telling historical detail ... genuine surprises.″
—Los Angeles Times
—The New York Times
NIGHT OVER WATER
″An excruciatingly taut drama on the aerial equivalent of the Orient Express ... thoroughly satisfying ... his best since Eye of the Needle.″
LIE DOWN WITH LIONS
—The Washington Post
ʺVintage Follett.... This is his most ambitious novel and it succeeds admirably.... Tense, vivid, excating ... satisfies on deep levels.ʺ
ON WINGS OF EAGLES
″Absolutely electric with suspense.″
—San Francisco Chronicle
″A marvelous, rare, terrific read.... A superb edge-of-the-seat true story that is as exciting as a novel.″
THE MAN FROM ST. PETERSBURG
″Ken Follett has done it once more ... goes down with the ease and impact of a well-prepared martini.ʺ
—The New York Time Book Review
THE KEY TO REBECCA
″A top-flight adventure thriller ... violence, intrigue, and exotic passions ... a vivid page-turner.″
—The Wieshington Post
″The most exciting novel in years.″
—The Cincinnati Enquire
″One of the liveliest thrillers of the year.... Follett is a master of crafty plot and incredible detail.... A sizzling narrative.″
EYE OF THE NEEDLE
—The New York Times Book Review
″An absolutely terrific thriller, so pulse-pounding, so ingenious in its plotting, and so frighteningly realistic that you simply cannot stop reading.″
ALSO BY KEN FOLLETT
The Modigliani Scandal
Eye of the Needle
The Key to Rebecca
The Man from St. Petersburg
On Wings of Eagles
Lie Down with Lions
The Pillars of the Earth
Night over Water
A Dangerous Fortune
A Place Called Freedom
The Third Twin
The Hammer of Eden
Code to Zero
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eISBN : 978-1-101-43662-2
IN A MODERN THRILLER the hero generally saves the world. Traditional adventure stories are more modest: The central character merely saves his own life, and perhaps the life of a faithful friend or a plucky girl. In less sensational novels—the middlebrow, well-told narratives that have been the staple diet of readers for more than a century—there is less at stake, but still a character′s efforts, struggles, and choices determine his destiny in a dramatic fashion.
I don′t actually believe that life is like that. In reality, circumstances quite beyond our control usually determine whether we live or die, become happy or miserable, strike it rich or lose everything. For example: Most rich people inherit their money. Most well-fed people simply had the luck to be bom in an af fluent country. Most happy people were born into loving families, and most miserable people had crazy parents.
I′m not a fatalist, nor do I believe that everything in life is blind chance. We do not control our lives the way a chess player controls his pieces, but life is not roulette either. As usual, the truth is complicated. Mechanisms beyond our control—and sometimes beyond our understanding—debermine a person′s fate, yet the choices he makes have consequences, if not the consequences he anticipated.
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