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  • Location: Vienna

Prelude to Terror

Prelude to Terror

Why a Booktrail?

Cold War, 1970s:  An American art expert is sent to Vienna to get a Ruysdael painting “at any cost” but what if the price is higher than he could have imagined?

  • ISBN: 978-0151739264
  • Genre: Thriller

What you need to know before your trail

Colin Grant is the art expert sent from New York to Vienna in order to get a painting by Dutch landscape artist Ruysdael at any price. A millionaire art collector from Texas is very keen to get his hands on the painting.

This was the time when terrorists were suspected of financing their activities by selling paintings and making money from shady deals. Many of the KGB are suspected and there is an international attempt, headed by NATO to try and stop this money and art laundering. Colin in his attempts to buy the painting, soon gets caught up between these dubious characters and Robert Renwick, who works for NATO.

Travel Guide

The art world of communist countries of those behind the iron curtain is a fascinating one evoked in intriguing detail. Ruysdael is depicted as a fascinating character and artist well before his time and it’s his painting that is at the centre of the intrigue-

“Strange fellow, Salomon van Ruysdael. He never dated any of this early paintings  – not until 1627 , in fact.”

Illegal groups are being set up to sell these valuable works of art and to help fund those who are defecting from their country’s political trap.  but like a painting, look closely and see that some of the colours and layers are flaking off and are not what they seem.

This is the Vienna of the 1970s too when the cold war and cold war suspicion was at its height. What lay behind a series of seemingly innocent looking paintings was quite different to the artistic images they projected.

With no technological advances such as mobile phones, this is an old fashioned and highly entertaining secret visit to hidden Vienna, to the seemingly innocent art auctions and galleries.

It is a place of secrets, of war secrets, a meeting place for many various peoples, hidden in plain sight –

“Vienna is  gathering place for them these days – just look at a map and see how it’s situated.”

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