The Stolen Altarpiece

A historical crime mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
578 Pages
Reviewed on 07/25/2023
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Author Biography

Gabriel Farago is the international, bestselling and multi-award-winning Australian author of the Jack Rogan mysteries and thrillers series for the thinking reader.

As a lawyer with a passion for history and archaeology, Gabriel had to wait for many years before being able to pursue another passion—writing—in earnest. However, his love of books and storytelling started long before that.

‘I remember as a young boy reading biographies and history books with a torch under the bed covers,’ he recalls, ‘and then writing stories about archaeologists and explorers the next day, instead of doing homework. Whilst I regularly got into trouble for this, I believe we can only do well in our endeavours if we are passionate about the things we love; for me, writing has become a passion.’

Born in Budapest, Gabriel grew up in post-War Europe, and after fleeing Hungary with his parents during the Revolution in 56, he went to school in Austria before arriving in Australia as a teenager. This allowed him to become multi-lingual and feel ‘at home’ in different countries and diverse cultures. Shaped by a long legal career and experiences spanning several decades and continents, his is a mature voice that speaks in many tongues.
Gabriel holds degrees in literature and law, speaks several languages and takes research and authenticity very seriously. Inquisitive by nature, he studied Egyptology and learned to read the hieroglyphs. He travels extensively and visits all of the locations mentioned in his books.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite

Gabriel Farago's The Stolen Altarpiece is a psychological and suspense-filled thriller. Connecting ancient and modern times, this is the riveting tale of a quest to find a painting, an amulet, and an artifact, each of great religious and historical significance. The novel takes its inspiration from historical figures, events, and places. I liked the Author's Note, in which Gabriel Farago writes about current events, and how a Russian children's poem inspired him to write The Stolen Altarpiece. Jack Rogan is an acclaimed journalist and novelist who is drawn into a dangerous quest by a powerful adversary from the past. His enemy is a psychopath who will not hesitate to murder and manipulate people for his nefarious ends. Jack follows a trail of cryptic clues from Venice and on to other European cities. He must defeat his archenemy to keep his family and friends safe. The story twists and turns to the very end!

I greatly enjoyed Gabriel Farago's riveting The Stolen Altarpiece because of its remarkable character Jack Rogan and his extraordinary courage and love for his family and friends. I particularly liked the interweaving of the backstories of Jack and the other major characters into the quests. As I read the evocative and gripping descriptions, the characters sprang to life. I liked how Jack's dilemmas, fears, and hopes emerge throughout the story as he faces challenge after challenge from his malevolent and manipulative adversary. At the same time, Jack is committed to protecting his family and friends. I loved this intriguing multilayered story and how the complexity of human nature emerges through different characters, their actions, settings, and dialogues. Equally, I loved the details as Jack tracks the "journeys" of the historical artifacts, the different owners through time and geography, and of incomplete or lost records. Some of the most powerful and emotional moments were when Jack finds significant pieces of the puzzle. The Stolen Altarpiece is a fascinating, compelling, and thought-provoking historical crime mystery with extraordinary characters!


5.0 out of 5 stars
Probably the best book so far of series.

Just finished it last night. Very emotional and moving book. It touches on ongoing war in Ukraine which is very close to my heart as I am Ukrainian and from East of country.
Jack is again on exciting journey to uncover plots and artifacts. Wonderfully written and keeps you entertained and engaged till the very end. If you haven’t read this book or series before I would recommend you to get it right away!

Peter Nevin

5.0 out of 5 stars Another great thriller from Farago, full of suspense, action, history, world events and more!

I highly recommend "The Stolen Altarpiece" by Gabriel Farago, the eighth instalment in "The Jack Rogan Mysteries" series. This thriller follows on with the adventures of the “lovable larrikan” Australian protagonist, Jack Rogan, author, adventurer, journalist and war correspondent. As always, Farago does not disappoint, he has crafted a truly captivating tale with his usual flair for creating a cast of believable, diverse and detailed characters in a storyline that abounds with drama and thrills.

Farago expertly weaves together a tapestry of historical facts and fiction to create a gripping and page-turning narrative. His attention to detail and careful research makes the story believable, while the infusion of recent world events adds a layer of reality that further engages the reader.
What I love about this book is how Farago exploits the emotional impact of these world events to instil a deeper reaction by the reader to his characters, making them more relatable, deeply engaging and, in the case of the “bad guys”, truly loathsome. This is a truly amazing book that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you wanting more. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good thriller.

Sally Asnicar

5.0 out of 5 stars
A tumultuous, must-read historical crime mystery by master storyteller Gabriel Farago

Gabriel Farago never shies from writing about the confronting and darker side of humanity; of man’s cruelty, greed, and lust for power. In The Stolen Altarpiece, Farago takes us on a fascinating journey through centuries and actual historical events, and then hurtles us back to contemporary upheaval and international conflict in play. The Stolen Altarpiece is a gutsy, tumultuous historical crime mystery that boldly addresses the tragedy of the invasion of Ukraine, and reveals the inextricable link in the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people to a little-known travesty that occurred a century before. With the help of those he trusts with his life, Jack must follow his ‘breadcrumbs’ to make sense of the baffling clues reaching out of the past. As Jack races against time to find a precious holy relic that can help to save a nation that has suffered too much, he must also outmanoeuvre an evil mastermind intent on Jack’s destruction and targetting those he holds dear. Another brilliant historical crime mystery in the author’s Jack Rogan Mysteries Series, Gabriel Farago’s latest Jack Rogan adventure does not disappoint!

Judith C Shaw

5.0 out of 5 stars
Another Jack Rogan Masterpiece
The Stolen Altarpiece, the 8th in the Jack Rogan series, is a true masterpiece in vintage Gabriel Farago style. Weaving together disparate threads from his previous stories, it brings together well-loved characters and storylines throughout Europe as Jack is targeted by a criminal mastermind who threatens not only Jack but all those he cares for. Following the clues from a stolen masterpiece leads him to the Middle East and back to Russia, where he is entangled in a war in Ukraine forged by a megalomaniacal dictator bent on rebuilding the former Soviet Union.
This book brings a whole new level to Gabriel Farago’s mastery of storytelling. The plot intricacies, depth of historical research, nail-biting suspense on every page, and climactic conclusion are unparalleled. In addition, the contemporary treatment of the Holodomor and the brutal war in Ukraine is empathetic, heartbreaking, and skillfully handled. I am enthralled by all of the previous books, and this one shows that they only get better over time. They should not be missed.

Martha M

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great combination of well researched history and exciting intertwined mysteries
I always learn something from reading Gabriel Farago. His books send me scurrying to do further research myself. The Stolen Altarpiece introduced me to the Holodormor famine instigated by Stalin. The horrors of that genocide were a platform for the atrocities the Ukrainian people are experiencing now. I love Jack and all his group of friends. The story of The Stolen Altarpiece is exciting and intricate. It’s uplifting because Jack scores wins along the way as well as facing challenges and Evil. The loyalty of the main characters to each other, as well as Jack’s unwavering determination to follow the ethical path is refreshing in today’s world. The Stolen Altarpiece shows a story can be entertaining, enthralling and a real page turner without using gratuitous sex and a filthy vocabulary. Thank you, Gabriel Farago. I can’t wait for your next book!