Friday, September 17, 2010

The Black Madonna

Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Howard Books
September 2010
ISBN 978-1-4165-5633-6
Genre: General Fiction/International

Prepare to be moved. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Your journey will begin once you open the pages of THE BLACK MADONNA. Author, lecturer and writer in residence (Regent’s Park College, Oxford University) Davis Bunn has once again demonstrated his mastery of the craft of writing as he literally propels his audience from the comfort of their reading rooms into a world of political intrigue, set against a backdrop of faith, hope and love.

Storm Syrrell is sole proprietor of an arts and antiquities establishment in West Palm Beach, Florida. Struggling to stay afloat amidst the aftermath of the Madoff scandal, Storm is miraculously snatched from a second bankruptcy by a mysterious deposit of a large sum of money into her business account. Minutes later, she receives equally mysterious instructions from an anonymous individual, who informs her what she is to do with the funds. Purchase one painting which is going on the auction block that very day. At any cost.

And so begins Storm’s modern-day odyssey, which transforms into a pilgrimage, as she is literally whisked around the world at break-neck speed, at the behest of the anonymous individual who increasingly pushes her boundaries, tasks her stamina, and tests her will at every turn. Along the way, Storm enlists the assistance of her best friend, Emma Webb, and the services of Harry Bennett, a self-proclaimed “treasure dog,” with world-wide contacts and a reckless disregard for his own safety. The greater the odds, the more desperate the circumstances, the more impossible the chances for success – the better! This was, in the words of Harry Bennet, “living large.”

As Storm’s relationship with her mysterious employer unfolds, and Emma begins to sort out her own feelings for Harry, the reason for the pilgrimage becomes clear. Poland’s only national treasure, The Black Madonna, has been stolen, and a forgery left in its place. The icon must be retrieved, both to avoid international scandal and to restore faith to a country that had already seen enough suffering.

If you are a fan of Limoges china, smoked salmon sandwiches, and chilled champagne at eight in the morning, this is the book for you. This is vicarious living at its best. You will experience sights, sounds and pleasures that make Donald Trump appear a panhandler. And you will begin to understand the importance – nay, the necessity – of faith, hope – and love. 313 pages. $14.99.

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