Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Mona Lisa Speaks by Christopher Angel

The Mona Lisa Speaks
by Christopher Angel

Visit Christopher:

Published: May 2013
Publisher: Over The Edge Books
Genre: France, Thriller
Paperback: 363 pages
Rating: 4

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Brilliant & confident Robertson Ross, an outdoorsy Canadian computer expert hired to update the Louvre’s security system, falls in love with Mathilde, a classic beauty & cultured Parisian art dealer. But, when he discovers that she’s deeply in debt to Jacques Renard, a powerful & dangerous lord of the French criminal underground, he has to embark on the risky & thrilling theft of the Mona Lisa to save her – & their unborn child.

Rob’s biggest problems actually begin after he successfully steals the Mona Lisa & replaces her with a perfect copy. Facing betrayals at all turns, he needs every bit of his intelligence, cunning, courage, & computer skills to stay alive & reunite with his true love. This is a story of thrills, danger, & a Canadian from the frozen North falling in love with Paris.


Quote to note:
Women have been the reason for many of the greatest feats in human history.
-chapter 20, page 105

My two-bits:
Loved the mashup of art, computers and Paris in this thriller.

Also, learning about the inner workings of a museum (in this case the Louvre) was fascinating.

And yes, Mona Lisa speaks ;-)

~-~-~-~-~ guest post ~-~-~-~-~
by Christopher Angel
~-~-~-~-~ guest post ~-~-~-~-~

Robertson Ross is my fictional version of that new breed of person - the charismatic, outgoing computer genius. I know some of these types personally (but I will not name them here). The old cliche of the expert computer programmer as the ultra-nerd, not good with people, is outdated in this age of internet billionaires and the allure of Silicon Valley. Thus, I created Rob, an example of this new breed of well-rounded computer experts. And I feel the book has come out at exactly the right time - since Edward Snowden, a real life example of this new type, continues to grab headlines.

So, how is Rob different than the old cliche of the computer nerd? First, he’s a Canadian, and not just a “regular” Canadian, he grew up in the Yukon, the Canadian neighbor to Alaska. His father was a bush pilot, so Rob grew up comfortable both around the extreme of the Yukon wilderness and also around mechanical machines. I wanted to write a Canadian character because I wanted him to be a little different, and also because I am a Canadian myself, and thought I could master his voice more smoothly for my first book. I also was fortunate to spend some time in the Yukon as I was starting to write the novel, and fell under the spell of the place and the people I met there. It requires a certain amount of self-reliance to live there, especially given the long winters.

One of the traits that I imagined in Robertson was his curiosity. I pictured him watching American television and old classic movies with his father in his house during the long winter nights, and imagining living what he was seeing. He also read a lot as a child, but always had a natural affinity towards computers and programming. He lost his mother when he was still young, so he formed a very close relationship with his father. Through his father, he discovered good food, a love of jazz music, and French films. Through these classic French films, of Truffaut and Goddard, he fell in love with the Paris of old. But he’s always dreamed of living there and discovering the Paris of today.

This upbringing also made Robertson a bit of a romantic. He has had some relationships at college, but never anything too serious - part of the problem with focussing so much on computer science, and working so much. So, when he meets Mathilde, he was primed to really fall head over heels for her.

Ultimately, I think Rob’s defining characteristic is his loyalty. He’ll do anything for the people he loves, and he’s very dependable. These are not unique Canadian qualities, but I like to think that they are quite common in Canadians. Rob is the kind of guy you can count on in a crisis. He’s been through some life and death situations with his dad out in the Yukon wilderness, so he knows how important it is to stay calm and keep his cool. And he’s conditioned to be able to do that.

Rob is a modern Renaissance man. He’s an outdoorsman, a computer scientist, and a romantic. He’s a little like how I might imagine Leonardo da Vinci might be if he existed today!"

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by Christopher Angel
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About the Author:

Emmy nominee Christopher Angel was inspired to write The Mona Lisa Speaks, his first novel, during a visit to the Louvre, where he dared ask, “why is the Mona Lisa so famous?” The answer, in part, surprised him: few know that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, and went missing for two years. Wondering what happened in those intervening two years launched his own fictional update of the story.

A professional film-maker, Christopher’s most recent movie as a writer/director is This Is Not A Test - a satire about domestic terrorism that aired on Showtime. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on James Cameron’s documentary, Expedition Bismarck, and won a student Academy Award for his short film, Mr. October. Christopher received his B.A. from Yale University, where he was a Humanities major, and an MFA in film-making from the University of Southern California.

--~ Book Giveaway ~--

WIN my review copy of this book!

Open to all.

Offer ends: November 10, 2013


VISIT the author, Christopher Angel.

RETURN here and tell me something you found of interest there.

AND, leave your email (if I don't already have it)


Contest has ended - winner is here



* review copy courtesy of Mona Lisa Speaks tour - check out the other stops for more details on this book and goodies sponsored by France Book Tours.


  1. thanks for your post, and including the trailer

  2. I liked that the author has a page regarding the actual robbery of the Mona Lisa.
    I already knew the story but I think all the more talk about it the better, as it is still uncertain if the Louvre has the real painting or a copy...
    A nice myth adding to Mona Lisa's fame.

  3. Just in case you don't have the email: agcestrela AT gmail.com

  4. The thing that interested me most about Christopher Angel is that he works on film, like I aspire to do! I love that he was nominated for an Emmy and worked on a James Cameron movie!

  5. And in the unfortunate event that you don't have my email it's mgt17770(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

  6. I enjoyed seeing the photos from his Paris trip and learning about the novel which is from a different perspective, especially when it involves a Canadian from the frozen north. Very interesting. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. I am enchanted with this book and look forward even more to the next installment of the Robertson Ross series which sounds great. This author has talent and is so creative. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Christopher Angel is an Emmy nominee. Great bio I must say.


  10. I thought I had already posted on this Giveaway, but since I am not seeing it, I am posting my answer again.

    I liked the fact that the author has a guide to Paris with obvious places and more personal choices.
    But a clear guide oriented by taste and not commercial objectives!


  11. I liked to see the photos of the author and his daughter.
    It creates a nice sense of relation with him and makes me want to read the book even more!

  12. I enjoyed the fact that there is one booktrailer of personal digression regarding author's inspiration.
    I prefer that to the other one, for it does not add much to the effect a sinopsys has on me!
    zeuksis [at] gmail(dot)com

  13. I cannot believe I never knew the Mona Lisa had actually been stolen and the crime would never had been solved if the thief hadn't offered to sell her back. Now I have to read the book to learn the rest. (I love the way you handle your giveaways. They are such fun.) michelle_willms(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. The author receoved MFA in film-making from the University of Southern California

  15. I loved the guide of Paris. I think it's really usefull to someone who has never been there before :)
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  16. Emmy nominations!
    That is something!

    goncalo DOT mil AT gmail DOT com

  17. "The Paris of the Novel"
    If I like the book as much as I hope I will take it for a second reading directly in Paris as I follow the map!
    ritambsilva AT gmail.com

  18. I discovered he is a professional filmmaker and that some of his first movies were the kind of sleaze film festivals I enjoy every now and then...

    I am going to check his cinematography before the book (if I'm lucky!).

    39.5susy AT gmail.com

  19. I discovered Robertson Ross is going to Madagascar before he returns to Paris in the second book of this series.

    joanapatriciadias AT gmail DOT com

  20. Thank you so much for this amazing book giveaway!! I would love to be entered if possible.

    As an admirer of fine art and famous paintings, i would be really interested in a story about a stolen Mona Lisa!! It sounds like a facinating read.

    My Email ~ lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  21. I thought it was exciting, that Vicenzo Peruggia had the real Mona Lisa under the tablecloth as he signed his statement. And no one knew! Thank you for the giveaway.


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