The Detour by Andromeda Romano-Lax, is part adventure novel and part history lesson. It takes place in 1938 when the Germans began to acquire great works of art from around the world. Hitler, dubbed The Collector, has set up the Third Reich’s Sonderprojekte where the main character, Ernst Vogler works as an art cataloger. Ernst is a mild-mannered man in his early 20’s, He is the kind of fellow that wants to stay behind the scenes and not stand out. He just wants to enjoy his work and his love of classical art. But of course his life takes a slight detour and everything changes.
Hitler has acquired the famous Roman sculpture, The Discus Thrower, and Ernst is given the assignment of traveling to Italy and bringing the statue back to Germany. Ernst is not much of a traveler and he isn’t very excited about being responsible for this great sculpture although he is very excited to see The Discus Thrower in person.
But as soon as he gets to Italy things start to go terribly wrong. Through a miscommunication Ernst misses the crating of the sculpture and his chance to see it up close. He is then thrown for a loop when he finds that two Italian brothers have been given the task of driving Ernst and the sculpture to the German border, which is not what the original plan entailed. He feels like he’s lost control of the assignment and he is right.
The journey to get The Discus Thrower to the German border becomes a series of misadventures and detours that Ernst could never have predicted when he left Germany for this assignment. Once Ernst gives himself over to the adventure he finally begins to live his life and come out of the shadows. The author has really written a most enjoyable novel filled with danger, intrigue and even a little romance. I recommend it highly.