News & Reviews

Praise for the Tsarina’s Lost Treasure

“Gerald Easter and Mara Vorhees skillfully weave the shipwreck of the Vrouw Maria and its secret cargo with the lives of Dutch Golden Age painter Gerrit Dou and Russia’s art-loving Catherine the Great. The high stakes search for the tsarina’s lost treasure, 18th century and modern, reads like a detective story. A true delight for fans of art, mystery, and maritime archeology.” – Susan Jaques, author of The Empress of Art and The Caesar of Paris

“As the ‘Sea Hunters,’ we had seen wrecks as scattered fragments on coral reefs, as steel structures torn apart by storms and battles in deep water, as rusted, collapsed hulks, and as exquisitely preserved time capsules.  We’d found ships with profound historical and cultural connections. . . . Others were filled with cargo of exceptional value to science or archaeology—or had actual treasure. But until Vrouw Maria, we had never seen a ship that had all of that.  Lost art masterpieces?  A wreck found thanks to dedicated archival research and focused ocean surveys?  A wreck discovered incredibly intact, nestled between a shoal of rocks as sharp as dragon’s teeth?  This was a  wreck that should have been in a Clive Cussler novel.” – James P. Delgado, Maritime Archaeologist and Author

“The Vrouw Maria was initially of no great importance—less than 100 feet in length it was just a two-masted wooden cargo ship. But what a cargo and what a story it harbors. The Tsarina’s Lost Treasure takes this long-lost ship and its priceless cargo, and blends in the story of Dutch art and its competitive owners.  And that is just the beginning of the story of Catherine the Great’s lost artworks.” – Tony Wheeler, co-founder of LONELY PLANET

“This supremely researched book tells the fascinating story of the Baltic Sea’s most famous and controversial shipwreck.  The Vrouw Maria carried a bona-fide treasure: not of gold and jewels but a dozen Old Masters paintings that included the most valuable work of art produced during the Dutch Golden Age.  The intact shipwreck should have been a maritime archaeologist’s and an art-lover’s dream.  Instead it became a nightmare for Rauno Koivusaari, its intrepid discoverer, who fought to of raise the wreck and reveal its priceless cargo of artworks unseen for nearly 250 years.” – David Mearns, Author of The Shipwreck Hunter