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Extended Audio Sample The Detour, by Andromeda Romano-Lax Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (166 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andromeda Romano-Lax Narrator: Dan Butler Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Ernst Vogler is twenty-six-years old in 1938 when he is sent to Rome by his employer—the Third Reich’s Sonderprojekte, which is collecting the great art of Europe and bringing it to Germany for the Führer. Vogler is to collect a famous classical Roman marble statue, The Discus Thrower, and get it to the German border, where it will be turned over to Gestapo custody. It is a simple, three-day job. Things start to go wrong almost immediately. 

The Italian twin brothers who have been hired to escort Vogler to the border seem to have priorities besides the task at hand—wild romances, perhaps even criminal jobs on the side—and Vogler quickly loses control of the assignment. The twins set off on a dangerous detour and Vogler realizes he will be lucky to escape this venture with his life, let alone his job. With nothing left to lose, the young German gives himself up to the Italian adventure, to the surprising love and inevitable losses along the way. 

The Detour is a bittersweet novel about artistic obsession, misplaced idealism, detours, and second chances, set along the beautiful back roads of northern Italy on the eve of war.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As Nazi Germany passes from living memory, novels that allow the reader to travel its ethical landscape are increasingly important. Andromeda Romano-Lax has a fine feel for  moments of clarity that are recognized only in hindsight, when chance and personal defects—moral and physical—combine to produce heroism, or mediocrity, or cowardice.”

    Mary Doria Russell, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Romano-Lax brings inertia to her narrative, deflating the foreboding of this German’s imploding assignment.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A gently haunting work of subtle and surprising wisdom.”

    Booklist

  • “Romano-Lax is singularly gifted: she creates full-fledged, engaging characters and writes compelling narrative. Some of her descriptive passages take your breath away. The author’s The Spanish Bow was a hit. This novel will make a splash, too, for the same reasons.”

    Library Journal

  • “With elegance and an eye for the unexpected, Ms. Romano-Lax distills the often overwhelming anguish of World War II into this elegiac tale of an earnest young art curator's journey into Italy, where he finds himself caught between his reverence for the past and the horrors of the future. An evocative portrait of one man's passage into maturity and the resiliency of the human spirit, even in midst of the unimaginable.”

    C. W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen

  • “A poignant and important historical drama, as well as part road trip and compelling adventure, The Detour defies our expectations on every page. Andromeda Romano-Lax is a powerful and moving storyteller.”

    Jennifer Gilmore, author of Something Red

  • “A marvelous adventure across landscapes both inner and outer, The Detour is a moving study in art and memory, history and geography, courage and compassion and every kind of love. Beautifully executed, deeply felt, and crammed with what feels for all the world like reality itself, it's a rare and valuable book indeed.”

    Jon Clinch, author of Finn and Kings of the Earth

  • The Detour is a suspenseful tale of artistic ideals, culture and power, complex family bonds, and redemptive love with one of the most finely crafted narratives I've ever read. It's certain to earn Andromeda Romano-Lax a new level of readership.  Vivid and heartbreaking, set against a shameful time in world history, Lax celebrates the resilience of the human condition, and its ability to heal against all odds.”

    Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Solomon’s Oak

  • The Detour is a wonderfully evocative and lyrical novel—a coming of age story woven into an adventure of art-smuggling under the Nazis. Romano-Lax brilliantly depicts a triumph over the seductive dangers of passivity when faced by love, art and the moral choices of life. A gemstone of a book!”

    Simon Goldhill, author of Jerusalem

  • The Detour is both a thriller and a poetic journey of a young art specialist and an ancient statue through the deceits and dangers of the Third Reich. Plunging into crazy adventures in a truck on the back roads of Italy and fleeing long-buried memories, Ernst seeks the safe delivery of the statue and in the process discovers loyalty, love, and his own soul. Andromeda Romano-Lax is a unique and wonderfully gifted writer.”

    Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jules | 12/23/2013

    " I admit I like Andromeda's The Spanish Bow better but this is also a good book. Too lazy to add more insight. Blah "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Susan Hupp | 11/12/2013

    " I felt in the beginning it started out slow and I really had to get into it, but I kept reading and then I found it to keep my interest and it was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kerrie Loyd | 4/30/2013

    " I think this is almost a perfect book. It has much to say about the relationships between fathers and sons and brothers, as well as the nature of beauty and perfection. And the pre-WWII Italian countryside setting was beautiful and perfectly captured. I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 4/25/2012

    " I liked this book more as the story progressed, and I liked the ending the most. I liked the weaving of Italian culture, events on the eve of World War II, and the discussion of how art history was impacted by these events. "

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