A man lives alone in a watchtower by the sea. On the circular walls of the tower he is painting a grand mural – the timeless landscape of a battle. He is a former war photographer, and the painting is his attempt to capture the photo he was never able to take; to encapsulate, in an instant, the meaning of war. But one day a stranger knocks on his door and announces that he has come to kill him. The man is a shadow from his past, one of the myriad faces of war, and now the consequences of his actions are brought home to him. As the novel progresses, the story of both the soldier and the artist emerge, entwined with a doomed love affair, and the progress of a painting that is infused with the history of art.
Intense and turbulent this is a book about art, war, love and the human capacity for both violence and empathy. It asks very profound questions about human nature and the role of the artist, but it is also has the intensity of a psychological thriller as the painter trades stories with the man who has come to kill him – like the Knight playing chess with Death in the Seventh Seal….