Blog Tour: Read an extract from Plunder with Intent by J. E. D'Este Clark

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FIFTH CENTURY AD, ATHENS


Humble sculptor, Nikodimos, toils away in his workshop to create a sumptuous marble masterpiece of Athena Parthenos. His beautiful, noble creation is destined to be housed in the Parthenon. Nikodimos has no reason to suspect that it will not remain in its rightful home forever...


NINETEENTH CENTURY AD, ATHENS

Lord Quimby, rich, powerful and greedy, is enchanted by the wealth of the Parthenon. Unconcerned by the local's distress, Lord Quimby plunders the Parthenon of her finest artefacts. His twelve-year-old nephew, Maximilian, helplessly watches his uncle's savage devastation of the treasure as it is shipped of to England, never to be seen again on Greek soil.


PRESENT DAY


Young Cambridge student Max Perceval unearths the horror of this late ancestor's murky deeds and realises all is not what is seems in the museum of Classical Antiquities. In order to locate the treasured Marbles, and right the wrongs of the past, Max must take matters into his own hands and confront the ghosts of the Quimby dynasty.


Plunder with Intent is a powerful novel that will make you question the responsibility of museums who house ancient artefacts, which were once plundered from their homelands.

Read an extract:

Night was drawing in. Max shivered, cursing the damp, dismal Scottish weather. He turned and ran, hurrying past the dairy, a huge octagonal shaped building made of stone. The demolition team had removed the door. How could he resist taking a peek inside? However, the dairy had clerestory windows which had been boarded up and Max failed to see the walls had been stripped of their blue and white tiles exposing enormous marble slabs of the Parthenon Frieze that had not seen daylight for over two hundred years. 

Max hurried on until he came to a cavern overgrown with weeds and bracken. Max could not ever recall seeing the cave before and assumed the builders must have come upon it by accident, and as there were no windows in the cave, he assumed the building had been the ice-house at one time.

Curious, Max walked inside. It was like walking into a tomb. 

The odour was putrid, a combination of stagnant water and rotting wood. It was difficult to see, however his eyes soon adjusted and he stood peering into the murky chasm, a plethora of wooden crates, all different shapes and sizes, stacked to the dome-shaped ceiling. He couldn’t imagine what lay inside and backed away, anxious to escape the foul-smelling cave. 

As he turned to go he just happened to glance inside a crate resting on the floor by his feet. The crate was open and he could see a chunk of marble through the mouldy straw. What on earth was the bust doing in the cave? He crouched down to take a closer look then snapped a photo with his mobile phone, intending to send it to Helen. She would know whose head it was... 

Max rushed out of the cavern. It was getting dark and he quickened his pace, rushing past the stables, the chicken coop and the cow sheds while cursing, ‘Damn! My search has been in vain,’ as he stared into the piggery. 

He couldn’t believe his eyes. Sitting on the floor of the piggery was the marble statue of Selene’s horse, the statue that had been in the Music Room, the statue he had loved so much as a child, and still did. The statue was an exact replica of the head of moon goddess’s horse in the Quimby Gallery in London. His mind raced. Max threw open the iron door and walked inside, just as the marble caught the last rays of sunlight. Why had he never noticed it before? He was dumbstruck. The marble had a luminosity and depth to the stone that wasn’t visible in the statue in the Quimby Gallery. 

Max sat down on the statue, crossing his legs. He had to convince Harry’s mother not to part with the statue. Perhaps she would sell it to him? Something else for his digs. Max sat patting the head of the horse, while the legend of Syrinx returned to haunt. He had often wondered whether the ancient Greek sculptors left their mark on the stone, like the bronze sculptors and he searched his pockets for his army knife, shining the tiny torch over every square inch of the stone; the mane, the mouth and the ears until he suddenly came upon two Greek letters carved inside the horse’s nostrils; α for alpha and Ώ for omega (the beginning and end of all things). 

Max gave the statue an affectionate pat on its nose. He didn’t know what to think. He wanted to text Helen to tell her about the doorstop but there was no mobile reception in East Lothian. Then he heard Harry calling. 

‘Max Max!’ Harry ran towards him. ‘Where on earth have you been? I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Want to go to the pub because I’m dying for a pint!’ 

‘Harry. You are not going to believe this...’ 


Plunder with Intent by J.E. D’Este Clark is out now

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