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Extended Audio Sample The Swan Thieves Audiobook, by Elizabeth Kostova Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 5 3.39 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Kostova Narrator: Treat Williams, Anne Heche, Sarah Zimmerman, Erin Cottrell, John Lee Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781600247460
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Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow has a perfectly ordered life—solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the hobby he loves: painting. This order is destroyed when the renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes Marlow’s patient.

When Oliver refuses to talk or cooperate, Marlow finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this silent genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Moving from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The many ardent admirers of The Historian will be happy to learn that The Swan Thieves offers plenty of the same pleasures.” 

    Washington Post

  • “Kostova knows how to craft a breathless ending.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A compelling story…Fans of The Historian have been waiting a long time for a new work from Kostova. They won’t be disappointed.” 

    Denver Post

  • “A must-read for lovers of historical fiction…The Swan Thieves shows the same meticulous historical research and scene-setting description that elevated The Historian from a vampire tale to a work of art.”  

    Associated Press

  • The Swan Thieves succeeds both in its echoes of The Historian and as it maps new territory for this canny and successful writer.” 

    Publishers Weekly 

  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the January 2010 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirsten McKeown | 2/19/2014

    " Absolutely sneaks up on you... beautiful endings like short little films. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lori Hoeckele | 2/11/2014

    " I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the Impressionist artists of France. The story, however, was slow and took a long time to get to a conclusion (560 pages). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Molly | 2/6/2014

    " I wasn't sure I would like this novel. Kostova creates indelible characters and weaves her characters' humanity into a tapestry of art and history. The novel's structure is similar to "The Historian" but that structure is not as effective in this novel. Still a very enjoyable read -- "

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

    " I'd give it 3.5 if I could. I loved the secondary story, but I didn't like Marlow and his romance at all "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mirah W | 2/1/2014

    " I listened to this audio book and enjoyed it. The readers were great and gave each character a very distinct voice and the voices really reflected the characters, their emotions, mindset, culture, etc. Interesting characters and storyline; it wasn't your run-of-the-mill novel. I was caught by surprise by some of the connections and I liked that. I thought there were times when the author was long-winded and it took it from being 4 stars to just 3 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann Flynt | 1/16/2014

    " Fantastic book. Well-written, deep. I loved it, and highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ceri McCandless | 1/7/2014

    " Kostova has a way with both pacing that make her books easy to lose one's self in for hours at a time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 12/23/2013

    " This book was all right, but it just wasn't as good as "The Historian." I struggled to sit down and finish it quite honestly. I guess I had too many other distractions for my time around the holidays. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara Penny | 11/28/2013

    " Fascinating look at obsessive behavior. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andie | 10/31/2013

    " I was extremely disappointed in this book after her wonderful book, the Historian. This one felt stilted with no flow. Really quite boring and slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 10/3/2013

    " Not as good as the Historian but definitely appealed to my love of Art History novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lizzy Thompson | 8/26/2013

    " Took a really long time to get into - I was expecting it to be more immediate, after my experience with The Historian. Now it's pretty good, but I'm already half-way through! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lost in Stereo Lola4TMRW | 8/11/2013

    " Okay so it took me about six months to read this, but it was worth it in the end. I would never have guessed. Plus there's like six different love stories at play. It's nice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin Griffin | 7/22/2013

    " Wow, this was an ambitious novel! And for the most part, it really delivered. My one complaint is that the ending was a little too happily ever after. I enjoyed the subject matter; though I know little about the world of visual art, I have always deeply appreciated it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 6/29/2013

    " Though I am not always a fan of the romance type novel this one does not get confined by the genre. The prose is lyrical and smooth and the story has so many layers that it holds your attention and mind. At the root of it a tragic tale of obsession. Pick it up! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 4/15/2013

    " Started a little slow, but I really got hooked when the excerpts from Beatrice and Olivier's time changed from letters to short chapters. Loved the details about painting and the Impressionists. Fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitlin | 3/18/2013

    " Engrossing read. Great for art lovers and those who enjoy a multi-layered plot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 10/21/2012

    " I absolutely loved this book. Totally gripping. Gorgeously written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adele Goetz | 4/14/2012

    " I loved "The Historian" - couldn't put it down. This was a disappointment in comparison. I have a hard time with stories that romanticize mental illness. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Robin Bernhard | 5/26/2011

    " learning alot about greek mythology and painting... fun fun. more to come "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julia | 5/23/2011

    " I loved this book! It's literary/art mystery with a great historical setting and a love story. Dual narrative. Would appeal to fans of novels about art. Character Driven but with a pretty strong plot. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annemieke | 5/20/2011

    " It just was a bit boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leigh | 5/20/2011

    " Eh. Kind of a 2.5 for me. "

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

    " Kostova's second novel is fantastic. Keep 'em coming. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michelle | 5/18/2011

    " The only good thing about this book is that it made me want to put it down and pick up a paint brush. "

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

    " Loved this book so much that I'm reading The Historian now. I wish she wrote more than two books! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeanne | 5/12/2011

    " Ok -- so I read 180 pages of the book and still couldn't get into the story line. Just not my cup of tea. Doubt if I will try to finish it. There are too many other good books out there to read, and life is too short to waste on an uninteresting book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 5/12/2011

    " 3.5--a past-and-present story, artists are main characters, old letters, etc. Faye, you would like this I think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 5/12/2011

    " It was a very captivating story of love across time. Very well written. Interesting characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gretel | 5/11/2011

    " I would actually give this 3 1/2 stars. Good beach read. I read it in 1 1/2 days. (I was on vacation with no kids!). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kazamov | 5/10/2011

    " Very slow start, but the second half is exciting and adventurous in the way that the Historian was. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 5/10/2011

    " I enjoy a good mystery and this started out OK, and was somewhat compelling as it moved along. The ending was extremely disappointing, tho, and that's why it only gets two stars. Felt like the author just needed to finish it, and didn't do a very good job of it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 5/8/2011

    " Absolutely fabulous historical fiction. The characters are amazing. A must read. "

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About the Author
Author Elizabeth Kostova

Elizabeth Kostova graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for Novel-in-Progress for The Historian.

About the Narrators

Anne Heche is an American actress. She has had leading roles in two theatrically released films Six Days, Seven Nights and Return to Paradise, as well as many supporting roles in films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Volcano, John Q, and Donnie Brasco. She also starred in the television series Men in Trees, Hung, and most recently Save Me.

Sarah Zimmerman’s acting credits include appearances on such television shows as The Good Wife, Desperate Housewives, Big Love, The Office, and Without a Trace. Also a narrator, she has read numerous books by N. K. Jemisin, Sandi Tan, Elizabeth Kostova, and others.

John Lee has read more than 100 audiobooks. His work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards and won AudioFile‘s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics in both 2008 and 2009. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and co-produced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.