1973 was a bad year for Professor Freidman. Being politically opinionated he was influenced by the Nixon Watergate Scandal. Being Jewish he was influenced by Israel’s Yom Kippur War. But more importantly, his life completely changed when in the same year he lost two critical people in his life – his beloved wife Laura to cancer, and Picasso, his idol who died in April of that year.
Five years later this professor of art history decided to get out of his melancholy life style and move to Paris to look for evidence for his theory that in addition to painting, sculpture and ceramics, Picasso also wrote poetry.
The move to Paris reinvigorated him and connected him with Theresa, a new friend and lover who shared his passion for Picasso art. But their search for Picasso poetry and the tracks they uncovered led them right into a dangerous trap set up by the brutal Russian mafia czar Alexander Rozov. In addition to being notorious for merciless violence throughout Europe, Rozov had a soft side – his love of art. And ever since Picasso died in 1973, he used his world-wide mafia network to confiscate Picasso art and transport it to a private shrine for Picasso that he had built in Russia. A secret, personal art museum that he has not shared with anybody.
The story takes us through a fact-finding journey all over Europe, from Paris to Toulouse to Antwerp to Cologne to Passau and to an undisclosed location in Communist Russia. While discovering details about Picasso’s poetry we also discover the intricate lives of Professor Freidman, his wife Laura and his new exotic lover Theresa. All of this culminates in a climactic intersection between Professor Freidman and Alexander Rozov. And as the two men teach each other about art and about Picasso, it surprisingly feels like they have more in common than was expected.
The story moves in a fast pace while mixing beautifully developed characters, delicately told life stories, historical facts about Picasso’s life and art and geographical journey facts, all leading to a surprising end where the past and the future connect to deliver a heart breaking conclusion.
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