On the border of the forest, among the trees, you must look for our silver and my hunting guns.
Before fleeing the family estate near Lviv, in what is now Ukraine, Jan Glazewski’s father buried what he could salvage of the family silver in the forest. The Glazewskis left war-ravaged Europe after World War II for a new life in South Africa. When Jan is born in Paarl in 1953, he nearly dies, like his elder brother before him, of severe haemophilia. Against the odds, he survives childhood – only to discover, at the start of his career, that he is HIV-positive from receiving contaminated blood products.
Despite this setback, Jan goes on to have a remarkable legal and academic career, which includes his involvement in drafting the environmental clause in the new South African Constitution. It is only after retirement that Jan finally has the opportunity to indulge his lifelong obsession: to recover the family silver. He travels to Ukraine where, armed only with a hand-drawn map and enlisting the help of a Polish writer, a Ukrainian metal-detector operator and his shady sidekick, he sets out on what seems like a mad quest. Many misadventures ensue.
The colourful life story of an exceptional man, Blood and Silver is a riveting tale of adventure and resolve, told with insight and elegance.