The Gilded Seal FAQ

Where did you get the inspiration for The Gilded Seal?

With a painting, if that doesn’t sound too unbearably pretentious. More specifically with the Mona Lisa. Not as some vital clue in a global hunt for a long lost religious icon, but as the victim of a notorious heist in 1911. When I read about the details of the case, and found out a bit more about the painting’s history, I realised I could use it as a great premise for a book. Then I put it together with the theft of another Da Vinci painting (the Madonna of the Yarnwinder in 2003), and a New York based art forgery scam, it came together. [click here]

What is the Gilded Seal?

It’s not a zoo animal cruelly covered in gold paint, like Jill Masterton in Goldfinger! It actually refers to the Imperial seal (see above right) that Napoleon modestly splashed on everything that came within touching distance.

Are the historical events depicted in the novel true?

Sometimes I forget what’s real and what I made up. But the details about the Mona Lisa’s history and theft, Napoleon’s death mask, the Egyptian Dinner Service, the Catacombs are absolutely true and the basic mechanics of the New York forgery are also based on the FBI case

Have you been to all the places mentioned in the book?

So that’s Seville, Drumlanrig, New York, London, Marrakech, Paris, Havana. Have I missed anywhere? And the answer is Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. Not bad. As for the Catacombs, going down there is illegal, so I absolutely have not been down there. Understood.

Do all the art works referred to in The Gilded Seal really exist?

I hope so, or a lot of museums are going to have to answer a lot of questions!

What characters from The Double Eagle and / or The Black Sun re-appear in The Gilded Seal?

Tom and Jennifer, obviously. And Archie and Dominique too. But there’s also a starring role for Jean-Claude Dumas, the French Secret Service agent you will remember from Double Eagle. And FBI Director Jack Green, a few pounds lighter, also throws his not inconsiderable frame into the fray.

Will we see Jennifer Browne again?

In Book IV – a brief but unforgettable encounter that shakes Tom’s world. You’ll have to wait and see…