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Zoia's Gold

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  26 reviews
"Stockholm, December 1999." Madam Zoia, the enigmatic "painter on gold," is dead. The last surviving member of the Romanov court, she leaves behind a house full of paintings, a collection of private papers, and a mystery. Marcus Elliot travels to Sweden to write the catalog that will accompany the sale of her work. But something feels wrong. Behind the gilded serenity of Z ...more
Hardcover, 389 pages
Published November 21st 2006 by Scribner Book Company (first published 2005)
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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Tea Jovanović
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
U vreme kada sam čitala rukopis ove knjige i kada sam procenila da će se dopasti čitaocima u Srbiji optužena sam da je Laguna kupila prava za ovu knjigu samo zato što sam smatrala da je autor zgodan... Napustila sam Lagunu pre objavljivanja knjige... I knjiga je postala Lagunin hit... I dan-danas, mnogo godina od objavljivanja knjige, slušam od raznih čitalaca koliko im se dopala i kako su je kupovali svojim prijateljima za poklon i kako mi je preporučuju... pri tome ne znajući da je ta knjiga b ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazing
Exciting and worthy read :)))

The book elegantly merges together fact and fiction, quoting directly from letters Zoia left and interweaving the resolution of Marcus’ past: his failed marriage, his mother’s death and his collapsed business. The book is pacey and mysterious, a fascinating insight into the real life of an enigmatic artist as well as the psychological mess that ties up the fictional Marcus. It is a masterpiece of fact and fiction creating a wholly believable story and highlighting a
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this read. I choose historical fiction early and often, but have rarely come across such a mix of intriguing historical fact paired so well with modern day mystery and suspense. Russian history is also something I'm not well-read on and so I really enjoyed learning more about what is really a fascinating country and culture. This was a book I had fun reading AND felt like I was learning throughout as well.
Oct 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
I'd give this 4.5 stars if I could. I really enjoyed it.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am absoluctly in love with the story! It is truely a treasured piece of art!
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Suspenseful, exotic, a delight.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: art lovers, history buffs, upmarket mystery readers
Recommended to Pat by: Entertainment Weekly
I've heard this described as a very upmarket Da Vinci Code, although given that the writing is excellent, that's rather insulting to the author! Actually, I think it's wrong to read this primarily as a mystery. It's quite an insightful book about the past reaching into the present via a legacy of art. The time-spanning element was what I liked most. Was surpised to discover Zoia was a real person.
Tony Lush
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Zoia's Gold by Philip Sington is highly recommended. The lives of several flawed characters -- past and present, real and fictional -- are intertwined in this thriller. You don't know until the end how it will come out.
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colorful, increasingly suspenseful investigation into the secret life of an extraordinary female survivor. Madam Zoia was a real person whose inner journey was/is revealed to a troubled researcher through a cache of letters, paintings and some electrifying encounters. A very unusual novel, but one that grew on me as it went on. To be read without preconceptions.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An exceptional read, fascinating and I enjoyed every page. I was sorry when it finished.
I have not read books by Philip Sington before but will defineltly be following him now.
I've always loved the paintings of Gustav Klimt with his use of gold. This novel also concerns a woman painter new to me. The subject matter looked fascinating, when I chose it from the library. I enjoyed the book but it was nothing outstanding, just something to pass time.

This story concerns a Russian woman painter, Zoia Korvin-Krutovsky, who "painted in gold." From the Romanov court, this novel takes us through her leaving Russia after the Revolution and the following years. Fast forward to 20
Mar 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I like that there are two parallel stories, with the life of Zoia the artist in the past and Elliot the collector in the present. Both stories progress pleasantly and I enjoyed the brief tour of Russian history, but the ending is very unfulfilling. The reason for Elliot's obsession with Zoia is never made apparent, and there isn't really any resolution to the question of Zoia's motivation either, so both plot lines fail to give any closure. It was a bit disappointing, even if it is a fair read o ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
There was a real Zoia, and Sington draws upon extensive research as he moves back and forth between the past and the present. The descriptions of her art are lovely and thoughtful. The book is a little slow at first and the main character seemed opaque to me, but in the last third the pace picked up (so much so that I stopped putting the book down), and the main character's complexity began to emerge.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Zoia, the last survivor of the Romanov court, and the mysterious painter on gold had died leaving behind a house full of art and mysteries. Marcus traveled to Sweden to catalog her works for sale. In the process, he underwent not only a journey into this enigmatic woman's life and art, but also a journey of introspection. In learning the truth about Zoia and what made her and her work unique, Marcus learned the truth about himself.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
While I really enjoyed the construction of the book with the two separate story lines, and the writing itself was lovely, I felt it lacked a bit in the storytelling itself. I didn't find myself really caring about Marcus and interesting tidbits didn't occur at quite the right pace for my liking. The mystery became clear before the reveal and then didn't fully reveal in a satisfactory way for me.
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: russia
This was an ok read. I was expecting a wonderful story with lots of art, but it lacked elements I was seeking for. Nicely written but somehow less captivating.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found it terribly boring. The quality bits are buried under a pretentious prose. Don't get me wrong, I like high literature; Proust's Remembrance of Things Past is one of my favourite books. This is neither high literature nor entertainment. I didn't find it a good read, I'm afraid.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Not exactly a mystery, not exactly a biography of an artist totally new to me, this book left me scratching my head as to WHY the author chose to tell Zoia's story this way. The book jumps back and forth between Zoia's story happening at various times (NOT chronologically) throughout the 20th century, and Elliot's story, happening in the present. Also, the pronoun "he" is used so heavily that you often have to hunt through a few pages to figure out who "he" is.

Around page 250 I gave serious thou
Aug 04, 2009 rated it liked it
I sort of enjoyed this book, though to give it a rating of 3 is perhaps slightly generous. Not sure what genre it would sit in, mystery/thriller/biography? It's about a Russian woman, an aristocrat from the Romanov court, who eventually escapes Russia and takes up painting on gold leaf. It wasn't until I got to the end of the book I realised she was a real person but I think the author should perhaps have stuck to a straight biography rather than trying to make it something more, and it conseque ...more
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are two stories in parallel: the history and the current. The history story is a better part of the book. It is about Russian revolution and its intimate consequences on the main heroine, yang painter. Current story is common: divorce, dirty trading, self introspecting. All this stuff is rather disappointing in connection with "real history".
Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, book-club
This was an ok read. I was expecting a wonderful story with lots of art and Sweden, but it lacked elements i was looking for. It was a book club book and, I am proud to announce that I would have read it in its entirety had I read it on my own. This so far is the best I can do.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Less interesting than the reviews suggested but I learned about a female artist I had never heard of as well as some background to early 20th century Russian history. It's a novel based on a real person and her papers. Well written but somehow less gripping than it should have been.
I couldn't finish this one. Right when you thought you hit the cliff-hanger, it just kept going on. There was also too much flip-flopping from present day to the past and I just found that I didn't care what was going to happen. So, I stopped reading.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it
I loved the ending of this book but getting there was tedious at times.
Susan Reed
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
good story, tough at beginning
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Marija Jovanovic
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Aug 24, 2012
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aka Patrick Lynch (with Gary Humphreys)

Philip Sington is an English novelist and playwright. He was born in Cambridge, UK.

He read history at Trinity College, Cambridge. Together with mystery writer Gary Humphreys he co-authored six thrillers under the joint pseudonym of Patrick Lynch, selling over 1 million copies worldwide. The third, 'Carriers', was adapted for the screen in 1998. They also coll
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“Old Prague was a story-book city caked in grime: ancient, soot-blackened. History lived in every detail: in the deerstalker rooftops and the blue-sparking trams. He wandered the streets in disbelief, photographing everything, images from Kafka crowding into his head. With the turn of every corner it came back to him: the special frisson you get behind enemy lines.” 13 likes
“He reached into the grate, picked out a couple of scraps, smoothed them out, leaning close to the flickering light. He was curious to see what it was Zoia had decided to destroy.” 5 likes
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