Thomas Hoving, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (301p) ISBN 978-0-671-68248-4
Less a novel than a tedious room-by-room guided tour through a Roman palace by a gang of unsavory art lovers, Hoving's second novel (after Masterpiece) is pedantically instructive rather than exciting. The former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and current editor of Connoisseur magazine, Hoving's excessively adjectival descriptions lack spark; his attempts to depict Roman society and the advent of Christianity are embarrassing. Andrew Foster, the ``dashing globe-trotting president'' of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and his glamorous wife Olivia are invited to Italy by the amoral Count Don Ciccio Nerone to help excavate the Tertullian family palace, buried by a volcanic eruption nearly 2000 years ago. At the dig, there are the usual cliched run-ins with mafiosi and corrupt officials. Andrew wants to cart the treasure back to Manhattan for a blockbuster art show, while Count Nerone schemes to exploit the palace for his own purposes. But when they discover the diary of Quintus Tertullian, which purports to prove that Christ did not really die on the cross but is practicing medicine in France, Hoving fails to make even sacrilege interesting. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-5011-2387-0
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