The Swan Thieves

  • by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Narrated by Treat Williams, Anne Heche
  • 17 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Ranging from American museums 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, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

***May contain Spoilers ! ***

I bought this as I had really enjoyed Kostova's 'The Historian' and the subject of art is something I am interested in.
Unfortunately I found The Swan Thieves tedious, I had no sympathy towards any of the characters.
The whole story seemed to be finding out who the mysterious subject of Robert Oliver's paintings was, to me this was obvious from early on yet the main character a psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, who had all the info the reader had, failed to work it out and just spent all his time talking to people close to Oliver hoping to find the answer. These included Oliver's ex wife Kate and his girlfriend Mary, who although had gone out of her way to meet Marlow and talk to him then only felt able to write episodic letters to him, which unfolded her whole life history to him including a description of using a tampon (!). To be fair the story wasn't helped by the narrating, the only voice I enjoyed listening too was 'Mary', and 'Beatrice' just sounded like someone from 'Ello 'Ello. There were times when the timeline/voice changed and I found myself physically groaning. Maybe if I had read rather than listened to the book I would have enjoyed it more, but I doubt it. In fact I am over half way through and have decided to give up, something I haven't as yet done on an audio book, but have decided life is too short !
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- V. Hannides

Not as good as The Historian

I, too, enjoyed Kostova's early work but found this novel hard going. I persevered to the end hoping it would get better, but it never did. Treat Williams gave an exceptionally poor narration which made a dull story even harder to listen to. Don't waste your time/money.
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- Jean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-02-2010
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK