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Extended Audio Sample Forgery of Venus, by Michael Gruber Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,323 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Gruber Narrator: Eric Conger Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2008 ISBN: 9780061632624
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Chaz Wilmot makes his living cranking out old-master parodies for ads and magazine covers. When he's offered a job restoring a Venetian palace fresco, he is at first, skeptical—he immediately sees it is more a forgery than a restoration. But he is soon seduced by the challenge and throws himself into the work, doing the job brilliantly.

This feat attracts the attention of Werner Krebs, a shady art dealer who becomes Wilmot's friend and patron. Wilmot is suddenly working with a fervor he hasn't felt in years, but without warning, he finds himself reliving moments from his past—not as memories but as if they are happening all over again. Soon, he believes he can travel back to the 17th century where he lived as the Spanish artist Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez. Wilmot begins to fantasize that as Velazquez, he has created a masterpiece and when the painting actually turns up, he doesn't know if he painted it or if he imagined the whole thing.

Little by little, Wilmot enters a secret world of gangsters, greed and murder, with his mystery patron at the center of it all, either as the mastermind behind a plot to forge a painting worth hundred of millions, or as the man who will save Wilmot from obscurity and madness.

Miraculously inventive, this book cements Gruber's reputation as one of the most imaginative and gifted writers of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ingenious…The author owns his subject matter and packs it with well-researched details, making this…a successful, suspenseful examination of insanity, forgery and reality.” 

    Chicago Sun-Times 

  • “[An] imaginative novel of psychological suspense.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “Michael Gruber’s new thriller, The Forgery of Venus, is as layered as a luminous portrait by an old master. A tour-de-force combination of suspense and characterization, as well as a primer on the world of art and art forgery.” 

    Seattle Times

  • “This terrific art thriller has history, thieves, insider snippets and a convoluted plot to keep you guessing.” 

    Toronto Globe and Mail

  • “Tantalizing…exhilarating. Retains the power from the first chapter to keep readers desperate for the suspenseful, addictive fix of every succeeding one. Forgery of Venus is a highly intelligent novel that entertains and educates.” 

    USA Today

  • The Forgery of Venus is the latest in Gruber’s series of amazing books. He has applied his deft touch to everything from Shakespeare to shamanism, yielding a finely drawn portrait of an engrossing world every time.” 

    New Orleans Times-Picayune

  • “Gruber is on a roll…[A] terrific art-historical thriller…A perfect place to get lost for a few days. Once again, Gruber mines a popular vein and strikes gold.” 

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Gruber writes with a deft hand, creating a fallen hero who is likeable despite his faults.” 

    Library Journal

  • “Irresistible. Fast, frightening and, as usual, richly imagined.” 

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 

  • “A quick and sharp romp through the art world. Downright delicious.” 

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “This is an art lover’s dream. Mystery and obsession are textured with art history in a plot that explores not only the shifting nature of art, but also the complex nature of identity.” 

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “Michael Gruber giv[es] us a finale in which the excitement level is high because we don’t know who, if anyone, to trust. It’s a satisfying conclusion, one that will leave readers debating the morality of Wilmot’s final decision.” 

    Tampa Tribune

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janet | 2/20/2014

    " I gave up on this book after reading about a quarter of it. Although I found the premise interesting, the abundance of dysfunctional family elements was taking away from my enjoyment of the major theme. So many books, so little time, and this clearly was going to be a waste of mine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 2/14/2014

    " I like the premise of the book, the plot was woven well, and you have me at anything art/art history related. Character development was great, just seemed like a rush ending and wrapping up too many loose ends easily. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody | 2/9/2014

    " Artists, stable and unstable, dealers, honest and unscrupulous and folks willing to pay way too much for a 'genuine' old master. What is real and what is fake? In the end you get to decide for yourself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Collyn | 2/5/2014

    " Not as good as The Book of Air and Shadows. This one spends a lot of time on art history and theories of art - too much for me. It does have a good, satisfactory ending and interesting characters, but the whole 'mid-life relationship crisis' trope wears thin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 1/29/2014

    " Excellent read. Engrossing, interesting, and fun! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/24/2014

    " I enjoyed it. Gave me something to think about when it comes to the possibility of bending time and past lives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jano Cohen | 1/18/2014

    " A fun page-turner about a painter who when drugged becomes Velasquez and paints his painting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise Powell | 1/8/2014

    " I really enjoy Gruber's work but can easily see how someone might find this book a little odd and (a smidge) depressing. Still, I enjoyed it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie M | 1/6/2014

    " Great novel! Combines interesting perspectives on the process of painting, time travel, psychology, and a bit of mystery/crime. Loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deanna | 1/5/2014

    " I tried to read this, I really did. But I was so lost in all of the artistic references...I just couldn't focus. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gabe | 12/21/2013

    " one of the best books I have read where at the end I was like, "did any of that really happen?" Not sure that's a recommendation, but it's a fast entertaining read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shauna Young | 12/2/2013

    " This is a fun book if you are interested in art and artists. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chuck | 11/28/2013

    " A very slow moving description of the life of an artist who claims to have forged a masterpiece. Didn't finish. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carly | 11/23/2013

    " A little art history, some sci-fi type drugs, what's not to like? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 10/18/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book and to me it was a better written than "The Book of Air and Shadows"...The story kept me the whole way through the book and I was relieved that the ending wasnt as predictable as the previous Gruber book that I had read.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne Kittrell | 6/21/2013

    " Another writer who can put the weird right down on the page. He is really spooky in the way he twists plots and drives you into believing that his weirdness is "real". Always interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phil | 2/27/2013

    " A good holiday read and a great art education wrapped up in a mystery "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill Kelly | 10/18/2012

    " One of the most intriguing books I've read in a while. Art history, art criticism, the inner workings of the painter, the value of memory, the issues of grandiosity and hallucination, all wrapped up in a mystery. A great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marti | 10/8/2012

    " Great story in which I learned more about art and the art world. I was riveted right to the book's end -- which life was "real?" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Ramey | 9/12/2012

    " I liked this novel, very unique and had a ton of details about painting and painters. I loved those details personally because I am an art history lover and also love to paint. I wonder for a non painter if those details may get boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie Michelle | 9/8/2012

    " excellent read! love his books "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria | 8/10/2012

    " He's at the top of his game with this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Youndyc | 6/22/2012

    " A slow start nearly had me abandoning this book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. Great, twisted art story - not too overloaded with history lessons. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ali | 3/25/2012

    " This book may actually only deserve four stars instead of five, but it really meshed well with my mood this weekend and I loved it. Plus, it's hard not to recommend any book that draws me in so much that I sit down and read it in one 8-hour session. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jackie | 2/3/2012

    " Not nearly as good as his Book of Air and Shadows. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent Coulthard | 6/26/2011

    " Easily my favorite of Gruber's work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Madrona310 | 5/17/2011

    " In-ter-est-ing! The reader's robotic monotone turns out to be perfect for this absorbing story of an artist's trip down a rabbit hole. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 5/15/2011

    " I loved this and couldn't put it down. The plot is twisted and hard to figure out, the characters are convincing and the art references are interesting. Great! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Athena | 5/9/2011

    " Worth reading. Wanted to talk to someone about this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dbshell | 4/21/2011

    " This is a great and well researched book...EXCEPT ..for the oh so frequent use of a one very bad Word!!
    It is about what is real and what is thought to be real...and also about art and history ...
    I wish I could recommend it to everyone..but I can't because of the language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 4/20/2011

    " This book is a combination of art history and mindfuck. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 3/25/2011

    " What a wonderfully written book! It's such a pleasure to settle in with a book that is enthralling, intelligently written, spicy. His characters are fully drarwn, his pacing and story telling ability are top notch. I recommend this with delight! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krista | 3/4/2011

    " Really a fun read--you never quite know what is real and what is imagined. Also learned a smattering of art history along the way! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 2/24/2011

    " I liked this novel, very unique and had a ton of details about painting and painters. I loved those details personally because I am an art history lover and also love to paint. I wonder for a non painter if those details may get boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 2/12/2011

    " Having no real appreciation, or knowledge even, of art or art history, I really wasn't into this book until about midway through. But, using the underground art market to explore the ultimate uncertainty of reality was very interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Foxytocin | 1/5/2011

    " Not one to forget any time soon..... "

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