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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
352 pages
Jan 2005
RiverOak

Leonardo's Chair

by John DeSimone

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt

Review:

Can a chair hold a power of creativity great enough to create works of magnificent art, comparable to that of Leonardo DaVinci? Perhaps, if the chair was constructed by DaVinci himself. Or so generations of artists have believed.

Young artist Paul LaBont is on the rise due to his own talent in artistic expression – a talent he believes he inherited from his father and mother. Paul’s mother has set aside her own creative talents, and desire to express those talents, at the demand of her husband, who considers her artwork no more than a dabbling hobby.

Victor LaBont, Paul’s father, is the current owner of Leonardo’s chair, and he attributes his own artistic skills to the power of the chair. When a fire at the LaBont estate leaves Victor critically burned, because he chose to enter the flames to save the mysterious chair, he also discovers that the chair is missing!

Convinced that the chair is the key to his survival, and continued talent, Victor sets his son on a quest to recover the antique.

Why would someone set a fire just to steal a chair?

Paul LaBont, against the wise advice of his mother, Marcella, promises his father that he will recover the chair. Along the way, strange dreams, accidents, and missteps cause Paul to wonder what the commotion is all about – is the chair a blessing, a curse, or just a stick of furniture?

Paul’s quest leads him to a mysterious family and the discovery of artwork equal to, even greater than, those of the renowned masters. But to recover the chair, he must agree to a deal – sit in the chair and create a saleable masterpiece that will keep the family from bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Marcella sets up her easel and starts to paint again to keep her own family from financial devastation and through the eyes of others, finally sees her own natural talent as a gift from God.

Her husband remains obsessed with the chair and struggles to accept his wife’s re-instated passion for art while trying to reconcile himself to the possible loss of use of his hands. Without the chair, even with usable hands, the senior LaBont fears he has no talent left.

This explanation of the human weakness to place extreme value and ascribe powers to an inanimate object is cleverly done. The author, DeSimone, explores the vulnerability of mankind as acceptance of superstition and the evil that lies beneath. Above average characterization, vivid descriptions, and a likeable hero combine to create a worthy addition to bookshelves of a diverse audience.

Though written with a Christian message, non-believers will also enjoy the unusual premise, a mystery to unravel, characters that grow, and ultimately, the role of man in the war between good and evil.

An added benefit for readers of Leonardo’s Chair is an included study guide, which promotes group reading and interaction to explore the real-world subjects introduced by a fictional story. -- Dian Moore, Christian Book Previews.com

Book Jacket:

Vincent LaBont is a world-class artist who attributes his creative ability to a chair he owns—a chair that he claims was created and empowered by Leonardo Da Vinci. When his home catches fire, Vincent is severely burned trying to rescue the chair. Later he realizes the chair was stolen before the house burned. Distraught that his creative abilities no longer exist without the chair, Vincent's son Paul, a painter himself, sets out for Italy where they suspect the chair has been taken. While Vincent contemplates his life in California without the chair, Paul grapples with his skepticism: Is Leonardo's chair real? Does it possess ancient power to create? Ultimately he, too, is seduced by the idea of the chair's power. Will he use the chair to recreate one of Leonardo's paintings? Will he become another anonymous copyist?