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The Flanders Panel

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,343 Ratings  ·  635 Reviews
While restoring a 15th-century painting which depicts a chess game between the Duke of Flanders and his knight, Julia, a young art expert, discovers a hidden inscription in the corner: Quis Necavit Equitem. Translation: Who killed the knight? Breaking the silence of five centuries, Julia's hunt for a Renaissance murderer leads her into a modern-day game of sin, betrayal, a ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published June 7th 2004 by Mariner Books (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
My friend Cathy (also a chessplayer) told me I had to read this, and she was indeed right. I couldn't put it down, and finished it in about a day. It's... well, what is it? I read it as a kind of postmodernist reimagining of Alice Through The Looking-Glass. Other books I immediately thought of were The Name of the Rose, Gödel, Escher, Bach and Luzhin's Defense.

Formally, it's a very stylized murder mystery. Julia, the sexy but childlike Alice figure, is a Madrid art restorer. She receives an unu
...more
Kelly
Feb 18, 2010 Kelly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: intellectual mystery lovers, art history scholars, fatalists
Well that was just as good as I remembered. Everything I said below still holds true. The tale may have felt a bit more heavy handed this time, but I think that's only because I knew who the murderer was and as Sherlock Holmes says, "I only saw it because I knew what I was looking for." It didn't diminish the pleasure of the experience.

This re-read had me focusing a lot more on characterization since I didn't have to be obsessively caught up in the mystery. What is beautifully done here is showi
...more
Matthew Roche
Aug 10, 2011 Matthew Roche rated it it was ok
I wanted so badly to love this book.

The simplest way to describe it is the novelisation of Douglas Hofstadter's opus, "Godel, Escher, Bach." In fact, it is impossible to believe that Perez-Reverte had finished G.E.B. more than ten minutes before furiously scribing "The Flanders Panel."

I wanted to love it because I love books based on puzzles and logic, and GEB may be one of my favorite books of all time.

But the novel is just so weak. The characters (charicatures?) were flat and absurd - how many
...more
Vaso
Sep 07, 2015 Vaso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book almost 16 years ago, but I still remember how fascinated I was after.
For me, back in the '90-'00s, if you haven't read a book of Mr Reverte, couldn't have a clue about his writing skills!
I recommend this one, to anyone who adores art and mystery, especially if they are bond so well in a book
Bob
Dec 15, 2008 Bob rated it it was ok
I got this as a birthday present and took it with me on our Thanksgiving trip. I wish I had taken the Manhattan phone book instead. It would have had a lot more interesting characters and none of them would be such implausible things as the characters of this novel. The whole structure is so contrived it ultimately collapses under its own weight. The book is built around a convoluted metaphor like "art is chess is life is art," but the harder the author works at it, the more tenuous it becomes. ...more
Haywardpoolpj
Sep 02, 2008 Haywardpoolpj rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. The plot is connected to both art history and chess. Well, in a former life (or my youth if you prefer), I was an art historian. In fact I was prepared to do a doctoral thesis on a series of paintings by Rembrandt. I bring that up because it was exciting for me to read a fictional story, a mystery no less, using art as the basis but it was like going back in time. I had to get back to a different way of thinking. Even more so with the chess angle.

The probl
...more
Mark Hebwood
Dec 01, 2013 Mark Hebwood rated it liked it
Overall, I liked this fine. Characters had real depth, were idiosyncratic, querky, troubled, colourful, and well-developed. The plot was complex, and Arturo managed to create an unusual whodunit by peppering his detective story with elements from the arcane worlds of reverse-chess and philosophy of perception.

Beginning to sound a little bit weird? Yes that is also what I thought. Sure, Arturo differentiates himself from the pack by writing something I might call a "literary thriller". But I cou
...more
Chrissa Vasileiou
Ακόμα ένα εξαιρετικό βιβλίο του Ρεβέρτε,που συμπληρώνει το top 3 μου από βιβλία του.Αν "Η λέσχη Δουμάς" είναι ένα βιβλίο που θα σύστηνα στους βιβλιόφιλους,αυτό εδώ θα το σύστηνα στους λάτρεις της τέχνης και του σκακιού.Ο Ρεβέρτε αναμειγνύει με θαυμαστό τρόπο το παρελθόν και το παρόν,στήνοντας μια ιστορία χωρίς κανένα κενό,χρονικό,θεματικό,λεπτομερειακό ή άλλο.Είναι φανερό πως ο συγγραφέας κατέχει όχι μόνο τη λογοτεχνική γλώσσα,αλλά κι εκείνη της έρευνας για κάθε ένα από τα αντικείμενα που απαρτί ...more
Harold
Mar 01, 2013 Harold rated it it was amazing
excellent! I love this blend of top shelf entertainment, intrigue and mystery which at the same time informs the reader of the mores of the Art World, the in and outs of restoring paintings, and, most prominently, the game of chess. As mediocre a player as I am, I was still able to follow the descriptions and logic of the moves and the use of a 500 year old chess game that is relevant to the mystery unfolding before us is just flat-out clever.

Reverte also wrote The Club Dumas, another book that
...more
Κώστας
3,5 αστέρια.
Είναι ένα από τα ελάχιστα βιβλία που οι εκδότες δεν το αφήνουν να πεθάνει επανεκδίδοντάς το αέναα. Το συγκεκριμένο είχε φτάσει στην 21η έκδοση το 2009 σύμφωνα με το αντίτυπο που έχω. Φαίνεται πως βρήκαν άλλη μια κότα να τους γεννάει χρυσά αυγά στο διηνεκές, αυτό δείχνει και η σταθερή ακατέβατη τιμή του εδώ και τόσα χρόνια.

Παρότι του έβαλα, τελικά, 3,5 αστέρια δεν θα το σύστηνα σε όσους δεν γνωρίζουν ή δεν αγαπούν το σκάκι. Σας προειδοποιώ ότι η βαθμολογία μου είναι προκατειλημένη. Σκ
...more
AnaΣtaΣia
Nov 17, 2015 AnaΣtaΣia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually it is 3,5/5 stars but I didn't have the heart to put only 3 stars in this book!
Louize
May 31, 2012 Louize rated it really liked it

"I would say that chess has more to do with the art of murder than it does with the art of war.”

The Flanders Panel is the picture of Chess in its truest form.
Every piece is a character. Every move is an influence. To win it, you must cross death.

“Amazing,” he murmured.

There is no better word to describe it. The enigma itself may not be that surprising, but the steps undertaken to manipulate, and likewise, to uncover it was engaging.

ooo------------------ooo--------------------ooo---------------
...more
Trini
Jan 06, 2008 Trini rated it did not like it
This disappointed me, especially since it came so highly recommended. I just couldn't buy into it though. The plot was absurd and unbelievable in numerous places. The characters lacked common sense. Let's see...someone is trying to kill me...I think I'll go out late at night by myself and cruise around the city, hail taxis, go to a nice restaurant, and then head back to my apartment for a quiet night by myself where the killer just so happens to know I live. That kind of crap really grated on me ...more
Maria Thomarey
3,5 . Χάνει το μισό βαθμό , ήθελα να του βάλω 4 γιατί μου άρεσε λιγότερο απο τη " λεςχη Δούμας" και γιατί δεν ηταν αξιομνημόνευτο
Snoozie Suzie
I really enjoyed this to start, but by the end I was disappointed. What didn't bother me at the beginning did in the end as it was kind of unfinished due to lack of character involvement/development which left it all hanging a bit and so unsatisfactory.

The chess side of things was very clever, but got a bit overwhelming toward the end I felt. But a clever alternative view of a murder mystery. In a way it reminds me of a Nancy Drew mystery as they often revolved around objects.
Licinia
Nov 29, 2014 Licinia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leituras-2014
Adiei, e adiei a leitura deste livro por receio, afinal foi infundado, pois gostei muito de "A Tábua de Flandres". Os dois ou três livros que já li de Arturo Pérez-Reverte não foram satisfatórios, mas a sinopse deste agradou-me e resolvi tentar uma vez mais e em boa a hora o fiz!
Majo
Ajedrez retrospectivo que llega a su clímax con J.S Bach sonando de fondo. Una obra de arte que data del S. XV con una inscripción oculta. Una restauradora, un aficionado al ajedrez y un coleccionista de antigüedades se ven envueltos en un juego que los convierte en piezas claves.
Catherine
Jun 10, 2009 Catherine rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
For the most part "The Flanders Panel" was a disappointment. It was undoubtedly well-researched, but the plot didn't grab me. I never felt that tug pulling me to the book and forcing me to continue reading. I could put it down at any moment. I like this author, but I found this book cliched and shallow. The characters lacked depth, and there was a repetitive quality to the prose, so that I found myself correctly anticipating how a sentence would end. I had difficulty connecting with his world of ...more
Debra
Apr 29, 2012 Debra rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I really wanted to like this book because the premise was so great. Guess I wasn't quite enough the intellectual to understand all the philosopher references, all the Latin, and, of course, the chess - even though the chess-game-run-backwards was painfully explained at one point (even enough for this novice to understand).

Plus the characters were not believable and seemed stereotyped. The author went out of his way to describe one's beauty, and one's sophistication, etc., ad nauseum. Great premi
...more
Eric
May 22, 2008 Eric rated it it was ok
Like other Pérez-Reverte books, this one initially consumed me. All the elements of his novels are present: interesting and complex characters, a modern mystery that plays out against a historical backdrop, in-depth descriptions that bring to life arcane subjects - in Club Dumas the antique book trade, in Fencing Master fencing, in this book, chess.

Unlike other Pérez-Reverte books, however, this one lost me in the last quarter when the mystery was resolved. I found the revelation of who and why
...more
Danielle
Jul 20, 2015 Danielle rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense-mystery
I liked the idea, I liked the setting, I even liked the chess (which I know next to nothing about). What I didn't like was how "impressed" everyone was with an art historian being able to make a timeline of events. Ok, I know this was pre-internet, but this man is an art HISTORIAN and what else does an historian do than research books about past events? If I'd read one more person describing Alvaro as "impressive" I would have murdered the book before the murderer had a chance to act. I also did ...more
Maria Grazia
Un delitto vecchio di 500 anni, un quadro che ne ritrae il mistero sotto forma di una partita di scacchi, una trama che si dipana tra la scacchistica e il mondo dell'antiquariato spagnolo.
Purtroppo il legame con la scacchistica è veramente troppo stretto, e se non si ha una infarinatura in alcuni punti diventa difficile dipanare i ragionamenti che portano al disvelamento delle varie mosse, ragionamenti che oltretutto sono infarciti di temi legati alla musica di Bach (e chi non conosce l'Offerta
...more
Terra
Oct 13, 2015 Terra rated it really liked it
This book is set in Madrid and offers suspense, deceit, the world of art history, friendship and betrayal, the intricacies of chess, and murder. Julia is an art restorer who is working on a painting from the fifteenth century, which shows a noble, his lady, a knight and a chess game in progress. As Julia and her friends try to answer the question of who killed the knight with the clues in the painting, the game reaches out to the present time and threatens Julia and her friends. The characters o ...more
Diane
Jul 08, 2007 Diane rated it it was amazing
Perez-Reverte writes fast-paced witty novels, mostly based in his home country of Spain. The Flanders Panel was the first of his that I read, and maybe the very best. It has a mystery and a puzzle about the Flanders Panel, which (if I remember, after many years), has a hidden message in it that reveals an old mystery. Wonderful book.
Eugenia Podkuyko
Початок був непоганим, навіть захопливим.

Я з цікавістю спостерігала за розгортанням сюжету аж до останнього розділу, коли раптом уся напруга спала й оповідання неохоче почало повзти до фіналу. Кінцівка відверто розчарувала.

Пара слів про Сесара. Незважаючи на його освіченість і обізнаність у питаннях мистецтва та літератури, він здався мені неприродним і претензійним. Надмірна театральність у його поведінці лише відштовхує.

Наостанок докину кілька слів до конкретно цього видання. Додатки, на мою д
...more
Yioula Ts.
Feb 23, 2016 Yioula Ts. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 αστέρια....Εμπιστεύτηκα γι'αυτό το βιβλίο τη γνώμη και τη γνώση του φίλου και συναναγνώστη Θανάση με τον οποίο συχνά ανταλλάσσω απόψεις για παλιές και νέες κυκλοφορίες.Ας ξεκινήσω με την παραδοχή πως είμαι σε θέση να ξεχωρίσω τι λέμε "σκακιέρα",καθώς και τα κομμάτια που την απαρτίζουν και εκεί ακριβώς τελειώνει και η γνώση μου για το παιχνίδι αυτό.Αν είχα στοιχειώδεις γνώσεις , πιθανώς θα βαθμολογούσα διαφορετικά.Κι ας με συγχωρήσουν και οι λάτρεις του Ρεβέρτε,αλλά πρέπει να είμαι ειλικρινή ...more
Haider Hussain
Sep 21, 2015 Haider Hussain rated it did not like it
I had high hopes with this one. Alas!

Flanders Panel opened up brilliantly and hooked me right in. Nonetheless, what started with arts and history culminates into a mundane anti-climax (You don’t see such a miserable finale often). Pathetic!

No spoilers here, but I can’t help sharing a particularly foolish, absurd and downright annoying inference from such a sublime and graceful game of Chess. Hold your breaths and read this conversation between two characters:

“The mathematical aspect of chess,” h
...more
Katerina
The book's main theme is a painting by Peter van Huys. Julia is restoring paintings and a painting representing a chess game between the Duke of Flanders and his knight is her current task. While running her tests she discovers a hidden message under the tablecloth saying: Who killed the knight? So Julia starts trying to solve the mystery of a murder that took place centuries ago. But murders start taking place around Julia and then the chess game becomes a death threat.

Although the book starte
...more
Anna
Jan 10, 2015 Anna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: chess lovers?
Recommended to Anna by: goodreads
“Sometimes," he said at last, as if it were an enormous effort to formulate his thoughts, "I wonder if chess is something man invented or if he merely discovered it. It's as if it were something that has always been there, since the beginning of the universe. Like whole numbers.”
― Arturo Pérez-Reverte, The Flanders Panel

I REALLY wanted to LOVE this book -- the idea for the story, the art history, the hidden meanings in the painting -- the idea was very interesting, the story itself was just so-
...more
Grace Tjan
This book, my second from the author, contains all the ingredients that should make it an engrossing read: art, medieval history, and mystery. However, after slogging through it for several days, I find the main mystery to be too contrived to be believable (that 20-page exposition at the end by the villain scarcely helps at all), and the other ingredients merely garnish instead of an integral part of the story. Sure, there are plenty of literary allusions (we are beaten over the head with the on ...more
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Good read. Not great. 3 46 Nov 23, 2013 02:27PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: La tavola fiamminga di Arturo Pérez-Reverte 1 3 Nov 23, 2013 07:49AM  
Around the World: Spain: Louise recommends The Flanders Panel 1 11 Nov 18, 2011 05:51AM  
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Spanish novelist and ex-journalist. He worked as a war reporter for twenty-one years (1973 - 1994). He started his journalistic career writing for the now-defunct newspaper Pueblo. Then, he jumped to news reporter for TVE, Spanish national channel. As a war journalist he traveled to several countries, covering many conflicts. He put this experience into his book 'Territorio Comanche', focusing on ...more
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“You don't choose your friends, they choose you, and you either reject them or you accept them without reservations.” 69 likes
“Chess is all about getting the king into check, you see. It's about killing the father. I would say that chess has more to do with the art of murder than it does with the art of war.” 22 likes
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