Munich: The writer Benjamin Stern entered his flat to see a man standing there, leafing through his research, and said, "Who the hell are you?" In response, the man shot him. As Stern lay dying, the gunman murmured a few words in Latin, then he gathered the writer's papers and left.
Venice: The art restorer Gabriel Allon applied a dab of paint carefully to the Bellini, then read the message thrust into his hands. Stern was dead; could he leave right away? With a sigh, the Mossad agent began to put his brushes away.
The Vatican: The priest named Pietro paced in the garden, thinking about the things he had discovered, the enemies he would make, the journey before him. Men would surely die, and he wished another could take it for him. But he knew that was not possible. In the weeks to come, the journeys of all three men will come together, following a trail of long-buried secrets and unthinkable deeds, leaving each one forever changed. And with them, the lives of millions . . .
Filled with rich characters, remarkable prose, and a multilayered plot of uncommon intensity, this is the finest work yet by a new master of the art.
The apartment house at Adalbertstrasse 68 was one of the few in the fashionable district of Schwabing yet to be overrun by Munich's noisy and growing professional elite. Wedged between two red brick buildings that exuded prewar charm, No. 68 seemed rather like an ugly younger stepsister. Her façade was a cracked beige stucco, her form squat and graceless. As a result her suitors were a tenuous community of students, artists, anarchists, and unrepentant punk rockers, all presided over by an authoritarian caretaker named Frau Ratzinger, who, it was rumored, had been living in the original apartment house at No. 68 when it was leveled by an Allied bomb. Neighborhood activists derided the building as an eyesore in need of gentrification. Defenders said it exemplified the very sort of Bohemian arrogance that had once made Schwabing the Montmartre of Germany, the Schwabing of Hesse and Mann and Lenin. And Adolf Hitler, the professor working in the second-floor window might ...
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