"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Icon Hunter

I watched the movie Monuments Men some time back, and thoughts of it came to mind in hearing of this new book by the Tasoula Hadjitofi, The Icon Hunter: A Refugee's Quest to Reclaim Her Nation's Stolen Heritage by Tasoula Georgiou Hadjitofi (Pegasus Books, 2017), 400pp. The author is a Cypriot, and I have fond memories of visiting Cyprus in the fall of 1993 to see some of its monasteries.

About this book the publisher tells us:

In this powerful memoir, Tasoula Hadjitofi reveals her perilous journey orchestrating “The Munich Case”―one of the largest European art trafficking stings since WWII. With the Bavarian police in place, the Cypriots on their way, seventy under-cover agents bust into the Munich apartment of a notorious Turkish smuggler suspected of holding looted antiquities. Tasoula places everything on the line to repatriate her country’s sacred treasures, unaware that treachery lies in the shadow of her success.
The Icon Hunter is a story torn from the pages of Tasoula's life as she and her Greek Cypriot family lose everything during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Hundreds of ancient Cypriot churches are destroyed, their contents looted and all signs of her Greek Cypriot culture erased as if it never existed. As a refugee, she wants justice. And then fate intervenes in the form of an archbishop and a dubious art dealer in search of redemption.
Even as unspeakable personal tragedy strikes, she never gives up her search knowing the special place these antiquities hold in the hearts of Orthodox Christians. These icons are not just masterpieces―they are artistic manifestations of faith and a gate-way to the divine.
Using family and faith as her touchstones, Tasoula takes on these “merchants of God” as she navigates the underworld of art trafficking. Tasoula believes this to be her calling, and the Archbishop of Cyprus entrusts her―an ordinary woman, wife, and mother―with the mission. In order to succeed, however, she must place her trust in an art dealer known for his double-dealing.
Inspiring and empowering, The Icon Hunter is a gripping story by a remarkable woman that will captivate readers long after the final page.

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