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The Icon Hunter: A Refugee's Quest to Reclaim Her Nation's Stolen Heritage    by Tasoula Georgiou Hadjitofi order for
Icon Hunter
by Tasoula Georgiou Hadjitofi
Order:  USA  Can
Pegasus, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

The subtitle of this book is 'A Refugee's Quest to Reclaim Her Nation's Stolen Heritage.' Tasoula Hadjitofi, born in Cyprus, together with her family, had to evacuate their home town when the Turks invaded. They lost everything, but what hurt most of all was the looting and defacing of religious objects throughout the area. She is at pains throughout the book to make us understand how much these objects are revered and what they mean to the people who worshiped in their presence.

Carrying that hurt into adulthood, she became The Icon Hunter, and really a very formidable one. Putting aside even her husband and children, as well as her business, she became an important part of the hunt for these stolen objects. She worked with both the church and the government, and despite setbacks, was able to bring many objects out of hiding.

This is a very moving piece because it attempts to highlight the very real cost of her zeal. She had to compromise her presence with her family and with her business. She had to deal with people who did not think much of her and with those who tried to manipulate her. And it is here that the book is not as satisfying as it could be, but rather a bit self-serving and repetitive. Her troubles with the dealer Van Rijn make him sound like a very unworthy person, but at the end she is at pains to thank him. Her account of her beleaguered family is touched on in many places, but only superficially.

She never lost sight of her goal, though, and it was this that kept her strong and led her to found two organizations that focus on the importance of our cultural heritage. Tasoula Hadjitofi has definitely made an important contribution to the world and has shown how a tenacious spirit can change what no one else thinks possible. She makes us all very proud.

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