interviews the writer Francesco Roesler Franz, author of the book “In the shadow of the pyramid of Caius Cestius Epulon”.

1) If you had to summarise the meaning of your book “In the shadow of the pyramid of Caio Cestio Epulone” in a few lines, what would you say?

It is an international thriller full of references to history, art history and esotericism, which could be considered the sequel to Dan Brown’s da Vinci Code, as is evident from the subtitle: “What links Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper to the paintings of Ettore Roesler Franz’s Vanished Rome”.

2) What was the basic idea that led you to write this novel that blends a love of art with a spy story?

This book was born after the research I carried out over the last five years, in which I wrote two historical essays, one on my family and another on the esoteric meaning hidden in the paintings of Roma Sparita. In these two essays, I rewrote the story of my family who came to Rome from Prague in 1747 and discovered the esoteric meaning hidden in the paintings. The two essays (which have a total length of 450 pages), however, due to their complexity, are intended for scholars and experts in history and art, while this book is intended for a wider readership. The text is enriched with numerous photographs to make both my thesis clearer and easier to read.

3) What would you like readers to take away from this novel?

There are two fundamental messages:

– the first is of course related to the paintings in Roma Sparita that make my great-uncle Ettore Roesler Franz as one of the most important 19th century symbolist painters in the world.

– the second is connected to the events of Bob, the book’s protagonist, who, while searching for the truth about the life of Ettore Roesler Franz and the esoteric meaning hidden in the paintings of Roma Sparita, at the same time undertakes his own journey of spiritual rebirth in a moment of deep inner crisis. Like the phoenix, which is reborn from the ashes, Bob is reborn to a new life, realising that he is guided by a superior entity, to which predestination can be assimilated. In a way, Bob’s story is similar in some ways to my own personal rebirth in recent years.

4) Is there anything you would have liked to add to the book when you read it after publication?

No, I wouldn’t have wanted to add anything else.

5) If you had to use three adjectives to define ” In the shadow of the pyramid of Caio Cestio Epulone “, which would you use?

Mysterious, parapsychological and detective story.

6) What was your first thought when you finished writing this story?

Writing this book was a lot of fun for me, it was a real divertissement, because I merged the stories of the protagonists and co-protagonists, namely those of Bob, Sarah and Professor Giovanni Battista Light, into a fantasy story, mixing them with history, art history and esotericism. Most of the readers liked this book, in fact they had a lot of fun reading it and complimented me on it.

7) Why do you think people should read your novel?

Because one understands that there is a thread linking some of the most important artists in the history of world art, in particular the great painters of the Renaissance to the artists of today and therefore one understands that in art nothing has been causal for the last six hundred years.

8) Your greatest love between art and writing?

At the moment it is cinema. After the publication of this book I started, about a month ago, an online course in film scriptwriting because my dream is to make a film or TV series out of this spy story with an American film production.

9) Is there anything about the story of the Roesler Franz family that you haven’t told us about, but would like to tell us now?

A couple of weeks ago I guessed some other news, among which one that links my family (through acquired relatives) to an important character of the 19th century born in Livorno, who lived a long time in the Middle East, in London and in the United States of America and who was a dear friend of General Giuseppe Garibaldi. For the moment, however, I will not add anything else as in October 2024 I will publish the Roesler Franz saga from 1700 to 1946, the year my parents got married.

10) Do you have a reference writer who inspired you or who inspired you to write this book?

For this esoteric historical spy story I drew inspiration from many writers, from Marco Buticchi to Tom Clancy, from Umberto Eco to Ken Follet, but the most outstanding of them all is, of course, Dan Brown.