Readers of 3 WISE MEN will find themselves immersed in exotic locations. Most are centered on the Mediterranean. The French Riviera follows a beautiful section of the northern Mediterranean coastline. Côte d’Azur was the name given to this exotic coast by the writer Stéphen Liégeard in his book, La Côte d’azur, published in December 1887, and the name has stuck-and even become synonymous with ritzy vacation hotels for the rich and famous. What a perfect location to contrast the tension building in our protagonist’s life when he is captured-literally- by the Riviera’s charms.
[“Forgive me. I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Sasha.”
Jak responded, impressed by the softness of her red lambskin gloves and engaging smile.
“Pleased to meet you. Were you staying in Antibes?” she enquired.
“I was just there for the day.”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“Oh, it’s charming I guess.” But his thoughts fled elsewhere, searching for answers. His head slumped to read the unfolded note in his hand.
“I love Antibes,” she continued. “With its rich history, it’s been a favorite place for many well-known people.”
Jak nodded and raised his eyes to view the lights now sparkling along the coast. The horizon had vanished into a cobalt-gray shroud. Night was closing in and he sought solitude.
“What was a scientist like you doing in old Antibes?” she asked. “The town has been more popular with artists than scientists.”
She nodded. “Antibes was the social whirlpool for many famous writers, including Hemingway and Fitzgerald. They gravitated together at the popular Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc—an idyllic location on the coast to help calm their personal differences and give them literary inspiration.”]
While Jak is flying to Milan, a rather unscrupulous and rough character called Romano is becoming frustrated. An important business contact is due to arrive in Nice and has not made contact with him – so, even minor things send him into angry outbursts.
[novel extract: Romano walked over to the window, still muttering under his breath. A soft onshore breeze fluttered gently along the French Riviera and pushed humid air directly into their apartment.
“And I hate these curtains! Nothing but lace and more lace! Why do I have to put up with this crap? Why can’t we buy this apartment and change the décor?”
Léo Osborn seemed unfazed by his boss’s changing moods. He moved his gaze out between the offending curtains and over the Promenade des Anglais – the prized jewel in Nice’s beachside location. He envied a group of distant sunbathers lounging in the bright September sun.
Léo thought it would be the perfect time of year to enjoy the charms of Nice, except for one problem – they were still waiting for their contact, and Romano held him personally responsible for the delay.
Romano’s secretary, Sasha, finally broke the tense atmosphere.
“Romano, the landlady said she won’t change them, remember? She loves lace, especially fine lace from Nice. And I have offered to buy the apartment, but it is not that easy.”]
It should have been a quiet journey for Jak, but his peace and quiet was soon interrupted as the train pulled out of Antibes. A woman joined him and seemed very keen to make conversation. Jak ignored her for a while but was intrigued by her similar interests. She soon came around to the topic of his visit…
[Novel Extract: “So what is ‘just a scientist’ like you doing in Antibes?” she asked. “After all, the town has been more popular with artists than scientists.”
“Really? I didn’t know that.”
“Oh, yes,” she replied, with an air of confidence. “Antibes has been the social whirlpool for many famous writers, including Hemingway and Fitzgerald. They often gathered at the popular Hotel Eden Roc – its perfect location seemed to give them literary inspiration. I stayed there once, along with a group of friends. We had a wild party and I remember its beautifully manicured gardens, and diving off the rocks into crystal clear ocean below the huge infinity pool.”
Jak had noticed Sasha’s fine athletic figure and could imagine her making graceful dives into the sea. “I didn’t know that Antibes was so popular,” he said. “But, who is this woman?” he wondered. “If she can afford to move in high society, why is she on this train? By the way she is dressed she could afford a private taxi all the way to Milan!”]