A centuries-old conspiracy is about to explode into the present with devastating consequences.
The first victim was forced to swallow stones. The second was whipped to death. The third was stabbed in the heart. A deadly serial killer is taking people down across London and New York. What did they all know? Why were they butchered? Who else is in the killer’s sights? And how can they be stopped? Inspired by real events in the artist’s life, The Rembrandt Secret is an incredible page-turner that combines deadly murder and the hidden truth behind one of the world’s most famous artists.
If, like me, you enjoy history told with a veritable spin, an immersive narrative and just a little hint of danger then you are definitely in for a treat with The Rembrandt Secret by Alex Connor. There’s something intriguing about the old masters and I for one can never get enough of thrillers set in this genre. I love a book that, although loosely based on fact, has a license to bend the truth and make you wonder if, what you are reading is indeed fact or fiction. I felt this way throughout the book and couldn’t wait to get to the final chapter and read what the author had to say about what really happened all those years ago.
On numerous occasions I found myself searching the web via google – other search engines are available of course – looking at the various paintings depicted in this story. It somehow added another depth to the book when you could see what the author was describing. I’ve never been one for Rembrandt’s art – I’m more of a Claude Monet fan myself – but the book certainly educates and gently forces you to learn more even though it’s a work of fiction. I love books that do that. It made me want to know more about Rembrandt and who and what he stood for.
At the heart of the story is Marshall Zeigler who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his father, and as the story progresses he realises he never really knew his father at all. Secrets are unravelled, stories told and whenever millions of pounds are at stake death is no strange bedfellow – no one is safe. The various murders in this book are pretty gruesome and before long Zeigler realises that an unknown serial killer is responsible and he is determined to find out who killed his father.
As an outsider to the Art world and with few contacts he soon realises that trust and honesty is at a premium. Who can he turn to for help? His life is at a crossroads and it takes numerous bold and risky decisions to move forward. One thing is certain, he can never go back to his old life.
The story is told at breakneck speeds and rarely lets up even when we delve into the 17th century and first hand accounts of Geertje Dircx Rembrandt’s mistress and spurned housekeeper. I really enjoyed this passage of writing and every time we visited Geertje I smiled.
Characterisation is good, apart from the aforementioned Zeigler there are no stand out personalities, the story revolves around Zeigler and his decisions to exact revenge on the person or persons who murdered his father. There are a number of surprises instore and I really enjoyed the reveal in the end. Very enjoyable, well thought out and I will definitely read more from Alex Connor.
- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Quercus (20 Jan 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1849163464
- ISBN-13: 978-1849163460