The Swan Thieves, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life - solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient.

Desperate to understand the secret that torments this genius, Marlowe embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities 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, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve hope.


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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

This book uses the 1st person point of view by several characters. However, I don't know whether this is just me or not, but their accounts seem to be told by one person only.So, 1 star only.The only good thing that comes out after reading this door-stopper book is that I picked up again my sketch book, pencil, canvas and other drawing/painting materials again, and am looking forward to using them properly again.Ok, I'll be a little bit generous, another star then!

Review by

Technicolor descriptions which somehow just didn't illuminate the work with its predictable plot, unconvincing characters, especially the protagonist who just didn't read like a male IMO. Too much "showing" including the rather obvious title: who stole the swan? Er, that bad guy from the other picture - duh! Disappointing, certainly won't be picking up anything else by this author.

Review by

Slow, slow, slow. An awful lot of meandering to no good purpose & I never managed to empathise with the characters. It was, frankly, a mystery to me why anybody would get involved with Robert Oliver or care so much about him. Patches of good writing about art tho. Much preferred "The Historian" although that too suffered from wordiness & a wandering plot.

Review by

I loved The Historian. I listened to it as an audiobook when I was ill with the flu. I'd drift off, listening to the tangled threads of family connections, mysterious relatives, disappearing girls....and find myself carried along by the river of story.I wanted so much to love this book. I was lucky enough, being the last passenger to check into a flight, to find not only an empty middle seat, but a book I had longed for. I wanted to find myself in another mysterious world, untangling the threads of story and reality.I find myself unable to finish the book, unentranced and mildly bored. I don't know if the fault is in myself or in this book, but I am disappointed.

Review by

After The Historian, I held such promise for this book, but I was disappointed. I have a background in art history, so it should have been just my kind of book. I found it too long, slow and very laboured without ever really going anywhere. I had neither empathy with or sympathy for Robert Oliver, who was a self-centred bully. I never understood his obsession either - it was neither fully explained nor tied in to the past narrative in any satisfactory way. The ending just didn't hold together - it started well but fizzled out.

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