Thursday, April 2, 2009

Before Bruno, Another Marvelous Thriller

I've talked about Martin Walker's absolutely amazing new bestseller, BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE from Knopf (my review runs any week now). But it turns out that in 2002, Walker published a book called THE CAVES OF PERIGORD, which I've been reading with equal pleasure.

The earlier book begins in the present, at a London auction house, where Lydia Dean, an American expert in ancient art, is brought an astonishing object -- what appears to be a small slice of rock from one of the famous caves of Lascaux. The man who brings it in is a retired British soldier, Jack Manners, who says he just inherited it from his father, another military officer who fought with the French Resistance during WWII -- ending up in Vizere, where Bruno also lives.

Lydia is both shocked by the desecration of one of the world's art treasures and excited by the discovery, which helps her keep her threatened job -- until it is stolen from the auction house's safe room. This sends Dean and Manners off on a journey to Lascaux, where the President of France (himself a former Resistance leader) definitely has something to hide.

I could go on for pages, talking about the way Walker handles not only the present but also the WWII years and especially the brilliance with which flashes back 17,000 years to the actual cave artists. But you should find out for yourself what he has accomplished.

1 comment:

Bruno said...

Dear Dick Adler,

thank you for your generous comments on my novels 'Bruno, Chief of Police' and the older 'Caves of Perigord.' I'm delighted that you came across it, and that you enjoyed my attempt to recreate the kind of pre-historic society that might have produced the cave art of Lascaux.
The second Bruno volume, 'The Dark Vineyard,' comes out in Britain later this summer and I'm working on Bruno number 3.

best, martin walker