JACKET NOTES: What happens when one of Manhattan's most glamorous couples makes a discovery beyond their wildest dreams-- a discovery that transports them back into time, into the mysterious and sometimes dangerous passages of an ancient world?
The globe-trotting curators of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Andrew and Olivia Foster--familiar to readers of Thomas Hoving's first hit novel, Masterpiece--have it all. He's a charming rapscallion with a taste for practical jokes and a low tolerance for stodgy museum types. She's a woman with a sixth sense for spotting elusive art treasures, a woman as comfortable on a camel's back as in a Cadillac. Together, they thought they'd seen everything.
Then, on sabbatical in the golden hills surrounding Naples, the Fosters make the archaeological discovery of a lifetime, a discovery which changes their lives forever. Spurred on by the subtle machinations of Count Don Ciccio Nerone (the world's wiliest and most eccentric art collector and connoisseur), the Fosters, aided by an arsenal of high-tech archaeological tools, succeed in unearthing a discovery more intriguing than the Tomb of Tutankhamen or the Temple of Aphrodite.
For nearly two thousand years, the Palace of Tertullian, pride of the lost city of Herculaneum, buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, has remained undisturbed. Efforts to uncover its legendary treasures have led to disappointment-and death.
For the Fosters and Don Ciccio, however, the splendors of the palace--chamber after chamber of unbelievable antiquities, sculpture, frescoes, tapestries, and jewels--justify the risk as they are drawn further and further back into time, into the mysteries of the Palace and the intrigues of Roman politics in the last days of the Empire.
Through the journals and writings of QMT (Quintus Maximianus Tertullian), Herculaneum's leading citizen, the Fosters and the Count learn of the scandalous love affairs of Phryne, QMT's beautiful, sensuous wife. They learn of the secret plot to murder the Emperor Nero, the real story of Alexander the Great's much-heralded exploits, and the amazing truth about a benevolent teacher who changed the world, a teacher known to QMT as Jesas.
How will the world react to their discoveries? This is only one of the questions facing the explorers as the earth begins to tremble, as Don Ciccio's schemes multiply, as he and the Fosters realize that their lives are in danger. Thomas Hoving's Discovery is unique, suspenseful entertainment, an intriguing archaeological adventure from one of the art world's most captivating experts.
(© Simon and Shuster)