The Empress of Tempera by Alex Dolan kept me awake for the last two nights. The story immediately grabbed me and even after I finished the novel, my mind wouldn’t let it go! What an amazing tale is told within its pages.
A painting of a long dead Empress is at the heart of the story, but that is almost inconsequential compared to the characters whose lives are effected by it. There is a young woman with a tumultuous past, a wealthy tyrannical art collector, an art gallery owner and his mistress, an up and coming male artist, and the daughter of the deceased Chinese artist who created the painting in question.
The painting, believed to be the only surviving work of the dead artist, appears to have adverse effects on those who come in contact with it. There are so many secrets, twists, and unpredictable turns that I have decided not to reveal much more of the plot because it might ruin the reading experience for anyone who intends to read the novel.
I think this is an incredible novel. It is well-written, the characters are well-defined, and overall, multi-faceted. I also think a book discussion group would have a field day with it. It is slated for release in September of this year. Mark your calendar and please let me know your reaction if you read it!