This novel is a work of ‘faction’, that means it is a combination of fact and fiction. Any similarity to incidents, events, famous personalities, or places in this book is either intentional, or otherwise haphazardly the product of the author’s imagination, so to speak. Resemblances to actual persons either dead or alive are purely intentional, but the protagonist Firoze Sasifzadeh, Hassan Sasifzadeh, Firoze’s uncle Ryszard, Bijan, Jonathan and the others are imaginary, but probably absorbed in the author’s mind by a process of assimilation.
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The paintings referred to in the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are by Giovanni da Rimini, Van Eyck and the pre-Raphaelites, the Arnolfino couple, Cezane’s Les Grandes Baigneuses and the scene in Venus and Mars by Botticelli. That of Rider Haggard is by John Pettie.