Monday, November 2, 2009

"The Shroud"

Junius Podrug was selected by the Harold Robbins Estate to carry on the ideas, uncompleted works, and tradition of Harold Robbins because he was both a friend of Robbins' and a writer whose books Robbins admired. He is the author of Harold Robbins' The Betrayers and The Decievers.

Podrug applied the Page 69 Test to their latest novel, The Shroud, and reported the following:
Curator for a museum owned by a billionaire, Maddy Dupre paid fifty million dollars for an artifact that turned out to have been looted from the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad. Getting it back to where it belongs costs her high paying job, a 5th Avenue penthouse, and black American Express card. That story was told in The Looters and The Shroud picks up with the once “A List” Maddy living in a roach infested Lower East Side walkup, fighting off bill collectors and a landlord who wants to collect his rent in bed.

An offer too good to be true comes along when Maddy gets a call from an art dealer who was supposed to be dead—and she hoped was burning in hell. He tells her to forget the past, “Mistakes were made and we suffered for it.”

We suffered? You mean I suffered, you son of a bitch. You’re still alive. Obviously you haven’t suffered enough.”

The offer is $20,000 cash just to fly to Dubai, the Persian Gulf sheikhdom that’s called Las Vegas on steroids. Money she needs like air to breathe. And her love for antiquities is stirred when the voice from the grave gives her a hint about what’s at stake: “It’s a couple thousand years old and was buried with Christ.”

Page 69 features a man and a woman in Dubai who are trying to get to the “dead” man. They know that Maddy’s being set up to front for him—and they are willing to let her take a bullet for him if it’ll get her out of the way.

Maddy discovers that the icon she’s been hired to track was bloodied by centuries of intrigue, war, and murder—not unlike what she goes through as she traces its history from Mesopotamia, Istanbul, Venice, and beyond. The title of the book only tells part of the story about the identity of the icon. While the plot is fiction, the history of the relic is extensively researched.

As a person who has been broke and has had the devil whisper in my ear, the two things I love most about Maddy are that she’s desperate enough to make a deal with the devil ... and clever enough to find a way to do the right thing when everything goes to hell.
Read more about The Shroud at Junius Podrug's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue