Florian’s Gate by T. Davis Bunn
Every time I read a book by T. Davis Bunn, I think it’s the best one I’ve read. Florian's Gate is no exception. It had me hooked from the first page and fast turning pages ever after. This is the story of a young man named Jeffrey Sinclair, an American, who lands an ideal job with his uncle and antiques dealer, Alexander Kantor.
Jeffrey loves his work with the amazing antiques. The sources of the antiques are a little bit fuzzy, though. Everything is shaded in secrecy, and everything in the business is based on trust. The pieces never have provenance, yet they're always of the finest quality. Jeffrey begins to wonder exactly who he can trust.
Jeffrey hires an assistant named Katya. She is a beautiful, intelligent young woman who quickly becomes an indispensable asset in the London office. When Alexander needs a special traveling job done, Katya accompanies Jeffrey as interpreter, since she speaks German and Polish as well as English.
The adventure begins on their trip, and we are taken to some of the poorest, most needy places in Europe. People are willing to sell their treasures so that they can provide for their families (or in one case, travel to Paris).
Jeffrey meets Alexander’s brother Gregor, a devout man with many gifts. Jeffrey's friendship with Katya grows, and he finds out some of the secrets of the business. There are some very exciting pieces to be moved around, some hidden in the most novel places.
The author’s research is amazing. In many ways, the book is the true story of Mr. Bunn's wife’s family, and it sticks close to their memories.
I felt like I was traveling back with the characters over real hurts, suffering, and memories that were so horrible it was impossible even to think about them. I love the descriptions of Cracow—and everywhere else, for that matter. Davis Bunn really understands how to describe places and provide historical background through dialogue.
I loved this book, and I think you will, too. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Bunn’s books in the Priceless Collection series. Five stars.