Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, culture, and the writing life.

About my novels

A controversial masterpiece resurfaces in Budapest. A headless ballerina is found beneath the boardwalk at Brighton Beach. And New York’s Russian mafia is about to collide with the equally ruthless art world…

Maddy Blume, an ambitious young art buyer for a Manhattan hedge fund, is desperate to track down a priceless painting by Marcel Duchamp, the most influential artist of the twentieth century.

The discovery of a woman’s decapitated body thrusts criminal investigator Alan Powell into a search for the same painting, a study for Duchamp’s Étant Donnés, with its enigmatic image of a headless nude.

And a Russian thief and assassin known as the Scythian must steal the painting first to save his reputation—and his life.

The murderous race is on. And in the lead is an insidious secret society intent on reclaiming the painting for reasons of its own—and by any means necessary…

Praise for The Icon Thief

“Alec Nevala-Lee comes roaring out of the gate with a novel that’s as thrilling as it is thought-provoking, as unexpected as it is erudite. The Icon Thief is a wild ride through a fascinating and morally complex world, a puzzle Duchamp himself would have applauded. Bravo.”

—Jesse Kellerman, national bestselling author of The Genius

“Alec Nevala-Lee is no debut author; he must have been a thriller writer in some past life. This one has everything: great writing, great characters, great story, great bad guy, and a religious conspiracy to boot. The Icon Thief is smart, sophisticated, and has enough fast-paced action to keep anyone up past midnight. I’m jealous.”

—Paul Christopher, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Cross

“Twists and turns aplenty lift this thriller above the rest. From the brutal thugs of the Russian mafia to the affected inhabitants of the American art world, this book introduces a cast of believable and intriguing characters. Add a storyline where almost nothing is as it first appears, and where the plot turns around on itself to reveal startling contradictions, and the result is a book that grips and holds the reader like a vise. I devoured it in a single sitting.”

—James Becker, national bestselling author of The Messiah Secret

“Nevala-Lee’s cerebral, exciting debut proves there’s plenty of life left in the Da Vinci Code–style thriller as long as fresh venues and original characters enhance the familiar plot elements and genre tropes…Nevala-Lee leaves a few loose ends to be resolved in what is sure to be the eagerly awaited sequel.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Learn more

To read more about the true story behind The Icon Thief, please see here. You can also watch the book’s official trailer on YouTube.

The Icon Thief, published by Penguin Books, is available in bookstores everywhere. Buy it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. An Italian translation, Il ladro di reliquie, is also available from Newton Compton.

In the lightning-paced sequel to The Icon Thief, Europe’s turbulent past and terrifying future are set to collide in the streets and prisons of London—and beyond.

Rachel Wolfe, a gifted Mormon FBI agent assigned to a major investigation overseas, discovers that a notorious gun runner has been murdered at his home in London, his body set on fire. When a second victim is found under identical circumstances, the ensuing chase plunges Wolfe and her colleagues into a breathless race across Europe, a secret war between two ruthless intelligence factions, and a hunt for a remorseless killer with a deadly appointment in Helsinki.

At the heart of the mystery lies one of the strangest unsolved incidents in the history of Russia—the unexplained death of nine mountaineers in the Dyatlov Pass five decades before. And at the center of it all stands a figure from Wolfe’s own past, Ilya Severin, the Russian thief and former assassin known in another life as the Scythian…

Praise for City of Exiles

“In City of Exiles, Alec Nevala-Lee creates a dazzlingly detailed and authentic world of intrigue, weaving a harrowing tale that will enthrall readers with an undercurrent of political ambiguity that evokes le Carré and an intricate, continent-crossing plot reminiscent of The Day of the Jackal. Delivering a complex mix of espionage, European politics, Old Testament riddles and Cold War mysteries, Nevala-Lee is clearly emerging as one of the most elegant new voices in suspense literature.”

—David Heinzmann, author of Throwaway Girl

“Nevala-Lee’s stylish follow-up to his debut, The Icon Thief, introduces Mormon FBI agent Rachel Wolfe, who’s come to London to work with the British police…à la Clarice Starling…Readers will look forward to seeing more of the intrepid Rachel in the trilogy’s third volume.”

Publishers Weekly

Learn more

To read more about the true story behind City of Exiles, please see here. You can also watch me discuss the book in an author video on YouTube.

City of Exiles, published by Penguin Books, is available in bookstores everywhere. Buy it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Eternal Empire

An electrifying mystery that will draw one woman into a global conspiracy—and into the sights of one of the most dangerous men in the world…

Maddy Blume is a survivor. Years ago, while working as an art analyst in New York, she was changed forever by an encounter with Ilya Severin, the thief and former assassin once known as the Scythian. Now, in London, she is presented with an unusual proposition: to go undercover as an art consultant to a Russian oil billionaire suspected of channeling profits to military intelligence.

As Maddy grows closer to her new boss, however, she discovers that his ambitions extend far beyond natural resources. He is out to shape the future of Russia on a massive scale, using the secret of the mythical empire of Shambhala, in a quest that will lead Maddy on a violent odyssey across Europe and to the far edge of the Black Sea.

Yet her involvement has not gone unnoticed. Not by the secret police. Not by her employer’s rivals. And least of all by the Scythian himself…

Praise for Eternal Empire

“In Eternal Empire, lost worlds and mysterious legends collide with modern-day resonance. Alec Nevala-Lee dishes up another sparkling and complex kaleidoscope of Russian lore, from Scythians and saints to serpents and spies, as two resourceful heroines race to decipher the buried secret.”

—Katherine Neville, New York Times bestselling author of The Eight

“Maddy’s hunt for a Fabergé egg, in the employ of a mysterious oligarch, evolves into a madman’s quest for the mythical Shambhala—in the form of a Russia raised from its post-Soviet shambles into a global empire. It’s a big book and, following the previous books, part of an even bigger story…Large and complex.”

—Steve Steinbock, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Learn more

To read more about how I came to write Eternal Empire, please see here and here.

Eternal Empire, published by Penguin Books, is available in bookstores everywhere. Buy it now on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Written by nevalalee

November 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm

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