Hey friends! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Opportunity by Robert Cort and I am bringing you an extract. Enjoy!
The Opportunity by Robert Cort
Published by: Clink Street Books
Release date: 29/07/2021
Where to find: Amazon
Summary: Ian Caxton is a senior manager at Sotheby’s. After successful career moves to Sotheby’s branches in New York and Hong Kong, Ian is now based in London and earmarked for the top position.
However, following a chance meeting with Andrei, a very rich Russian art dealer based in Monaco, Ian suddenly reassesses all his plans and ambitions. Even his marriage is under threat.
The Opportunity charts the tumultuous life and career of Ian Caxton as he navigates the underbelly of the art world, one of serious wealth, heart-stopping adventure and a dark side.
The big question is, will Ian take The Opportunity? And if he does, what will the consequences be, not only for him, but also for his wife and colleagues?
Andrei Petrov had been looking forward to this meeting as he wanted to change people’s lives … forever!
He looked out, through the large bay window, into Maddox Street. This was the first time Andrei had visited The Grapes public house. As he continued to stare through the window he watched the hurrying and scurrying of the London commuters making their way home. Some of them were trying to shelter under their umbrellas from the cold, biting November rain. He lifted up the pint glass and sipped his cold beer. Thoughts drifted back to his former home, Moscow, and how cold it would be there at this moment. If people thought England felt chilly this time of the year, then they ought to experience Moscow in late November. He knew it would be about 20 degrees colder and shuddered at the thought.
A small grin slowly appeared on his tanned face when his thinking returned to the meeting in a few minutes time. He was excited, very excited. Could this man, the man who he was about to meet for the very first time, be the final link in his unique plan? A plan that when accomplished would nett him many millions of extra euros!
From early in his adult life, Andrei had been a chancer, a gambler, but not in the sense of casinos or betting on horses, no, his passion in the early days was investing at the right time in the Russian oil and gas industry. But over the last 20 years his new gambling passion, which he had slowly developed into his personal business, had centred around art and in particular, buying and selling of mostly post 1700 European paintings, both genuine … and fakes!
Andrei had not returned to Russia for 15 years, certainly not since Putin had decreed the oligarchs were no longer welcome. Whilst he’d made a significant amount of money in the early days from his successful investing in the Russian gas and oil industry, he was not a billionaire. However, he was still very wealthy and quicker than most to notice that the good times were slowly coming to an end in Russia. He timely managed to get his many millions of roubles, euros and dollars out of Russia and into a newly set up Swiss bank account before it was all too late. But of course, he also knew that he could never really relax, or indeed, ever feel totally safe! It was never too late. Any day the Kremlin or the Russian Mafia, might finally decide on revenge. Then for certain, his days in this life would be numbered. His dealings in the art world too had not been without their own risks and a few of his dealings had resulted in a small number of jealous enemies.
His home was now in the Mediterranean playground of Monaco, the paradise for the very rich and the ultimate tax evader. Despite this favoured situation he still spent more days in aeroplanes and visiting clients around the world, than he did in his own home. He usually only came to Britain to meet with his two Russian London based friends and three other very wealthy and important clients. But tonight, he waited patiently and hoped that another UK resident would shortly become a key member of his very select team. A new addition who would make a significant impact on his future.
Andrei looked into the wood panelled room. Some of the city workers were beginning to line the bar and the noise level was slowly increasing. He listened to two suited men standing near to where he was sitting. They were discussing today’s events on the stock-market. Evidently the stock market was still as volatile as ever. He wondered why people invested their money there. Art, for those people who knew what they were doing, was much more rewarding.
He enjoyed the English language and had been keen to learn to speak it at school and then college in Moscow. Now, and for the last 15 years, this has been his main conversational language used around the world. He also spoke French, when in Monaco and France and a little Portuguese and Spanish. But it was only with a few Russian friends and colleagues that he had any need to speak his home language any more.
He had first met his two London based Russian friends, Sergei and Boris, during his early stocks and share dealings with Gazprom and Transneft, the giant oil and gas companies. Sergei had worked for Gazprom and Boris for Transneft. Although all three men left Russia at different times, they still kept in touch and have been good friends ever since. Neither Sergei nor Boris have been back to Russia either since Putin had come to power and whilst these two friends do not have the same level of wealth as Andrei, they are rich enough to be able to live quiet, anonymous and very comfortable lives in London.
Andrei continued to watch the people outside and sip his beer. Now in his early 70s he thought his eyesight was still as good as it was in his younger days. He didn’t need to wear spectacles and had made deliberate efforts to keep himself generally fit and lean.
He noticed that the rain had now eased and he could catch glimpses of people’s faces when they were exposed to the light emitting through the window. He looked at his watch, 6.55 pm, just another five minutes. Again, a grin slowly appeared on his face.
Robert Cort always enjoyed writing as a child but his life took him on a different path with a career in the commercial insurance world and hobbies such as being a semi-professional footballer and playing golf to a low handicap standard. Following retirement and golf taking more of a backseat, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a published author and thus began the journey to writing The Opportunity. Inspired by John Grisham’s books and a trip to Moscow, Robert Cort came up with the idea for the Ian Caxton thriller series. The Opportunity is the first of this series.