The Detour by Andromeda Romano-Lax

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Ernst Vogler is twenty-six years old in 1938 when he is sent to Rome by his employer—the Third Reich's Sonderprojekte, which is collecting the great art of Europe and bringing it to Germany for the Führer. Vogler is to collect a famous Classical Roman marble statue, The Discus Thrower, and get it to the German border, where it will be turned over to Gestapo custody. It is a simple, three-day job.

Things start to go wrong almost immediately. The Italian twin brothers who have been hired to escort Vogler to the border seem to have priorities besides the task at hand—wild romances, perhaps even criminal jobs on the side—and Vogler quickly loses control of the assignment. The twins set off on a dangerous detour and Vogler realizes he will be lucky to escape this venture with his life, let alone his job. With nothing left to lose, the young German gives himself up to the Italian adventure, to the surprising love and inevitable losses along the way.

The Detour is a bittersweet novel about artistic obsession, misplaced idealism, detours, and second chances, set along the beautiful back-roads of northern Italy on the eve of war.

About Andromeda Romano-Lax

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Born in 1970 in Chicago, Andromeda Romano-Lax is the author of numerous works of nonfiction and Director of the 49 Alaska Writing Center. Her first novel, The Spanish Bow, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and was translated into 11 languages. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband and two children.
Published February 14, 2012 by Soho Press. 320 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Detour

Kirkus Reviews

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Vogler, a callow young art expert who favors the "deep, clean, and relatively painless cut of narrow knowledge" to the messiness of politics or larger cultural issues—and who has been tapped for this plum job in part because he appeared, by sheer accident, to have expressed public contempt for a ...

Apr 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Detour


Ernst has never been one for flights of fancy, or passion, despite his love of art, so when Enzo starts spouting off some plan to propose to his girlfriend, and Cosimo can’t seem to say no to his brother, Ernst realizes that he’s heading for disaster.

Jul 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Detour

Washington Independent Review of Books

En route to the German border from Rome, accompanying the statue of “The Discus Thrower” that Hitler has bought from the Italians, 24-year-old Ernst Vogler is carried off on a detour by the two Italian policemen who escort him.

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My San Antonio

Alaskan writer Andromeda Romano-Lax's new novel, “The Detour,” is a gem, combining a fascinating storyline about art acquistion in Hitler's Germany, an entrancing setting darkened by impending war, rich symbolism and engaging characters.

Feb 26 2012 | Read Full Review of The Detour

ForeWord Reviews

Just as the discus thrower leans to balance the weight of the outstretched arm and the heavy disc, Ernst must learn to balance his love for classical art with personal morality, to reach for love, even while acknowledging it is more than any of us deserve.

Feb 29 2012 | Read Full Review of The Detour

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