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Extended Audio Sample The 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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