Leonardo Padura, translated by Anna Kushner

Paperback | Jun 2017 | Bitter Lemon Press | 9781908524782 | 556pp | 232x155mm | GEN | AUD$26.99, NZD$32.99

In 1939, the Saint Louis sails from Hamburg into Havana's port with hundreds of Jewish refugees. From the docks, nine-year-old Daniel Kaminsky watches as the passengers, including his parents, become embroiled in a fiasco of Cuban corruption. But the Kaminskys have a treasure that they hope will save them: a Rembrandt portrait of Christ. Yet six days later the vessel is forced to leave the harbour with the family, bound for the horrors of Europe. The Kaminskys, along with their priceless heirloom, disappear.

Seven decades later, the Rembrandt reappears in a London auction house, prompting Daniel's son to travel to Cuba to track down the story of the lost masterpiece. He hires Mario Conde, and together they navigate a web of deception and violence in the morally complex city of Havana. In Heretics, Leonardo Padura takes us from the tenements and beaches of Cuba to Rembrandt's gloomy studio in seventeenth-century Amsterdam. A grand detective story and a moving historical drama, Padura's novel is as compelling, mysterious, and enduring as the painting at its centre.

Leonardo Padura talks about his novel Heretics, and about baseball, music, and Cuba.