The Engraver's Secret

The Engraver's Secret

The Engraver's Secret

Lisa Medved

Two women, a mysterious map, and a family secret spanning hundreds of years ... A stunning art history thriller set around the life, times, and feuds of the artist Peter Paul Rubens. What do you do when the weight of betrayal grows too heavy to bear?

'An inspired blend of history and suspense ... This wonderful debut novel will inhabit your dreams' Dominic Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos and Return to Valetto

'Art and history collide in this sumptuous novel of dark secrets, family, violence and treachery' Karen Brooks, bestselling author of The Good Wife of Bath, The Brewer's Tale and The Escapades of Tribulation Johnson

Innocence and delight, guile and misapprehension, the hint of indifference, even disdain on her pretty features. Fickle, he called her, a mixture of surprise and confidence. She is all that and more, brought to life with the ink strokes of a genius.

Spanish Netherlands, 1620s: raised by her father Lucas to know her mind, Antonia Vorsterman sees everything that goes on in her world - all the rivalries and jealousies that course through the artists' studios and workshops of Antwerp.

Drawn into the lively household of the artist Peter Paul Rubens, whose work her father engraves for a living, Antonia begins to see a life of colour and possibility for herself - until Lucas entrusts her with a terrible secret that will alter the course of their family's future.

Belgium, present day: haunted by the recent loss of her mother, art historian Charlotte Hubert moves to Antwerp to research her hero, the Baroque master Rubens, and to seek answers about the father she's never met.

But a startling discovery hidden inside an ancient map folio turns Charlotte's quiet academic life into a dangerous hunt for long-lost treasures, missing for 400 years. In the shadowy cloisters of the university, where ambition, obsession and violence run deep, nothing is as it seems.

Charlotte is certain of one thing - no one can be trusted.

Centuries apart, Charlotte's and Antonia's lives intertwine as they unearth long-buried secrets about a master and his engraver where theft, betrayal and the fallout of family loyalty run rampant.


'The Engraver's Secret is an inspired blend of history and suspense, braiding two stories of fathers and daughters and family secrets across time. Lisa Medved conjures Rubens' house and his world so vividly that Antwerp and this wonderful debut novel will inhabit your dreams.' Dominic Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos and Return to Valetto

'Perfect for fans of dark academia, The Engraver's Secret is a richly woven tale of intrigue, with two very determined women at its heart. A captivating debut that brings the art and history of the Baroque era to life on the page' Evie Woods, author of the #1 Wall Street Journal and Amazon Kindle bestseller The Lost Bookshop

'Art and history collide in this sumptuous novel of dark secrets, family, violence and treachery. Two extraordinary women, set apart by time, are beholden to a past and the men who shaped it. For the talented Antonia, it's the conflict between the magnificent artist, Peter Paul Rubens, and her frustrated engraver father that tears her life apart. Then, there's Charlotte, the brilliant Rubens' scholar, who stumbles upon a mystery protected for centuries - a mystery that will either augment her career or destroy it. This atmospheric, suspenseful tale, where the streets of seventeenth century and modern Antwerp come alive, is as gorgeously and deftly crafted as a Rubens masterpiece.' Karen Brooks, bestselling author of The Good Wife of Bath, The Brewer's Tale and The Escapades of Tribulation Johnson

'The Engraver's Secret enthralled me from its first lush sentence. Set in 17th century and modern-day Antwerp, the search to uncover the secrets of Rubens' mysterious engraver transported me into the deliciously ruthless world of art history academia. Medved's knowledge of the architecture, art and culture of Rubens' era is breathtaking in scope and masterfully rendered. I was utterly taken by this stunning debut, a riveting and perfectly paced tale of betrayal, secrets, theft, ambition, danger, and desire.' Melissa Ashley, bestselling author of The Birdman's Wife, The Bee and the Orange Tree and The Naturalist of Amsterdam

'A beautifully told tale about the strength of familial bonds, and a centuries-old mystery that holds the key to a young woman's future.' Lauren Chater, bestselling author of The Lace Weaver, Gulliver's Wife, The Winter Dress and The Beauties

'A skilful and passionate writer, Lisa Medved lured me into 17th century Antwerp and held me captive there. I was engrossed by this tale of art and intrigue, love and betrayal, friendship and loss.' Suzanne Leal, bestselling author of The Teacher's Secret and The Watchful Wife

'Trust, betrayal, and the painful lessons of the past: these interweave in the connected stories of two women centuries apart, both seeking truth, and a way to build independent lives. At the heart of each woman's story are family secrets and the risks of ambition and failure. Lisa Medved's meticulous research plummets us into the fascinating creative world of Antwerp's Golden Age, while a compelling modern mystery propels the novel through twists, feuds, and intrigues to its thrilling conclusion.' Kelly Gardiner, critically acclaimed, bestselling author of Goddess

'The exotic mystery and brutal treachery of art and academia across eras binds two women to both their ambition and each other in Lisa Medved's expertly researched and tenderly wrought debut novel. Crafted with care and delivered with fervour through the hearts and minds of Antonia and Charlotte, The Engraver's Secret will reignite a passion for perseverance and commitment to self-belief and reveal that our impulses to unravel the past, can make or break who we are in the present.' Sally Colin-James, author of One Illumined Thread, winner of the Colleen McCullough Fellowship Award

The Engraver's Secret


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