‘Be ever engaged, so whenever the devil calls, he may find you engaged”
- From the book.
As a great lover of everything art, the title of the book interested me a great deal. The novel had a very impressive plotline with a Carravagio painting at its heart. My sister and I have know more about Da vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and of course Carravagio than the latest fashion styles or the games just released. Carravagio’s painting “Cardsharps” which plays a very important role in the novel, going by the title, was painted by the famous artist around 1954. The parallel story about Carravagio in the novel impressed and interested me a lot.
The story follows Vincent Ward, an employee at a London art gallery as he saves his gallery from a day light robbery and is then sent to Rome to acquire a journal which is claimed to be Carravagio’s and can lead to the whereabouts of any of his hidden paintings which he created when he was on the run from Italy. The changing of locations from busy London to peaceful Rome was subtly done. The observations made in the great city of cathedrals were intricate and minute enough to let us imagine the hero walking through them even though we have never been there. I love Rome and its buildings, its long pebbled roads with houses neatly lined up along its various hills. The authors detailing helped me imagine them in my mind’s eye.
Though i loved the prologue, it could have been more personal and touching. The novel begins with an awkward and stilted narrative tone but grows comfortable and professional as you start the third chapter. The pace too increases and the chances of not keeping the book down till you are done with it increases too!
The story can remind you a bit of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series and though the usual knowledgeable man-beautiful woman can bore you, it is actually refreshing here in the novel as it is difficult to see Vincent braving out in the open against mafia gangs and notorious pirates alone.
The character of Jennifer was rather good but was not as elusive as she was meant to be. The little surprise about the herine waiting at the end was an icing on the cake, though I had a teeny bit of suspicion about it.
The action scenes were great but could have been improved and made less confusing. Some mythological stories were a bit wrong, especially about Medusa. A fact that I liked very much about this novel was that it stayed constant and did not drift from its plotline unlike some mystery novels. Even the parts about Carravagio were beautifully spun into Vincent’s adventure and helps us understand the novel better as at the climax Vincent’s situation starts reflecting the poor naive man who was playing a gambling game with two thieves as shown in the ‘Cardsharps’ painting.
I would not say that i loved and adored the book but i liked it and will definitely read the next installations of Vincent’s adventures. Have a great time reading this!