Carolien Blansjaar and the Cursing Priest

Young art historian Carolien Blansjaar and her friend Paul Martineau from London try to solve the riddle behind a painting from the Dutch Golden Age, and come across a criminal conspiracy dating back five centuries ago, and a murder that changed the course of European history. A Jesuit priest with a dark military past violently tries to stop them, while Inspector Van Peeteren desperately searches for clues in a nebulous murder case.

 

The story is set in modern-day Amsterdam, while the mystery Carolien and Paul are after dates back to the sixteenth century, when religious wars divided Europe and the Netherlands were ready to break free from Spanish rule.

 

The novel has c. 104,000 words, with 45 illustrations in black-and-white. Photos, maps and diagrams help to understand the enigmas Carolien and Paul are faced with, while further images illuminate the settings of the narrative and its backgrounds.

 

The book aims at readers age 16-116, who enjoy puzzle-driven thrillers as created by Dan Brown (Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code) or Raymond Khoury (The Last Templar), dealing, among others, with the ancient secrets of the Roman-Catholic Church.

More details can be found at this information page for literary agents.



A work in the making

When I was fourteen and read Remco Campert's Tjeempie  and Turks Fruit by Jan Wolkers, I  was sure I would become a novelist one day. My experimental poetry was published in our school magazine, I wrote sonnets for my girlfriend and political articles for our student paper, authored a 500-page catalog on sculptures by Auguste Rodin I had scanned in European art museums, created two dozen illustrated photo stories and finally engaged in studies on Gothic Literature. I published over a thousand of pages of text, including an annotated English translation of Makt myrkranna , the Icelandic version of Dracula, that received positive reviews in the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, the Smithsonian Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. I taught in workshops, trained interns, created a dozen websites and initiated a series of international literary conferences. But still, I had written no novel. Finally, I decided to use my research skills to compose a puzzle-driven novel with a historical background. It took me a year to complete and illustrate Carolien Blansjaar and the Cursing Priest. Quite different from what I imagined I would write when I was fourteenbut an exciting and rewarding experience. A number of friends have test-read it already; I am open for cooperation with literary agents who would like to represent this work.

Many thanks to my test readers!

Until now, my manuscript has been read and commented on by Pienette Coetzee and Eva Tillmann, Munich; Sharon Spendley, Kent; Prodosh Bhattacharya of Jadavpur University, Kolkata; Kathinka Stel, Amsterdam: Naomi von Senff, Australia: Cynthia Close, Vermont: Dea Yount-Schofield, Virginia; and my sister Lenke de Roos, Zwolle. All contributed valuable insights which helped me improve my draft :-)

Award-winning research

Hidden Sin could not have been written without thorough background research.

I am lucky to have studied at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Amsterdam University during the short time window in which seminars took place in small groups led by an enthusiastic team of lecturers. Thanks to the "broad" approach  of the late 1970's, Sociology, Economics, History, Feminist Theory, Press Studies, Adult Education, Anthropology and Philosophy could be included in my studies; apart from that, I have always delved into Art-History and practiced as an artist, with over 20 solo and group exhibitions in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Spain. For almost 30 years, I have run my own artistic photo studio in Munich,  training over 40 interns in PhotoShop and InDesign. I even ran my own publishing company, Moonlake Editions UG.

My database of museums holding sculptures by Auguste Rodin was awarded as one op the best art history websites; my project to make high-resolution 3-D scans of such sculptures in 25 art museums all over Europe resulted in a major collection of digitized sculptures. The research for my book  The Ultimate Dracula was awarded with the extremely rare* Research Award of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, while Powers of Darkness received the Special Award of the Lord Ruthven Assembly 2018. In 2021.my video documentary of Asian vampire beliefs won the Golden Bat Award of the 'Children of the Night' International Dracula Congress.

 

*Since the death of Prof. em. Elizabeth Miller in January 2022, I am the only living person holding this award.