The Dante Deception

the most dangerous enemy is the one closest to your heart

A forger. A grifter. A gangster. A soldier. A ballerina.

Who will win when a deadly web ensnares them all?

The Dante Deception: A Natalie Brandon Thriller by Jenni Wiltz

A 700-year-old Dante manuscript up for auction is a fake. To stop the auction, a group of scoundrels will race to find the forger…uncovering a web of lies spun over forty years and four countries, ensnaring a British baron, a Bolshoi ballerina, a Russian mobster – and the elusive Soviet defector who ties them all together.

Winner: Second Place
2016 Reedsy & Operation: Thriller Contest Thriller Contest: Second Place

This book has already had a long, strange history.

It’s about to get longer and stranger.

I only intended to write a prequel to The Romanov Legacy. It was going to be a freebie, a bonus for people who signed up for my mailing list. But then the characters took over, and soon I was staring down the barrel of more than a hundred pages. Then two hundred pages. Then three hundred pages.

And here’s the worst part.

My heroine, Natalie, met all the characters in the book that theoretically comes after this one. So her storyline had to intersect with theirs…without her remembering a thing. That’s a tall order.

By the time it was finished, this book was about 500 pages…and I skipped years (decades in some case) to get you through it as fast as I could.

Obviously, something was terribly wrong with the way I’d set things up.

So in summer 2019, I unpublished it and removed it from the Natalie Brandon thriller series. Instead, I’m rewriting it as a trilogy that will stand beside that series. The characters will still intersect – in the Dante series, you’ll meet Constantine, Viktor, Vadim, Liliya, all of whom show up in The Romanov Legacy.

You’ll also meet the Sinclairs, a family of grifters who are going to come into play in the fourth Natalie Brandon book (which is outlined but not written yet).

Making this book a trilogy is the only way I can do justice to these characters.

Three years later, they’re as fresh in my mind as ever. I sat down to write, not sure how I’d feel about the project, the characters, or any of it. Turns out, it’s like I never left them. Sinclair and Severin are my favorite characters, and I can’t wait to spend more time with them. I have big plans for them…and for when they meet Natalie.

Want to know when the new trilogy is ready?

Click here to join my mailing list! You’ll be the first to know.

This trailer is for the original book that included Natalie.

It kicks so much ass that I’m leaving it here (for now).

Book Extras

Make the story come alive!


Pinterest Board

Illuminated manuscripts
Book locations: Germany, Moscow & more
Russian prison tattoos Art by Repin, Goya, Corot, and more

Let’s See It


YouTube Playlist

18 songs
YouTube playlist
Featuring The Sounds, Vampire Weekend,
The Joy Formidable, Chvrches, and more

Let’s Rock


Reading List

 Forgery & the Montreal Museum robbery
 The Second Chechen War
Russian organized crime

Sure, I Like Homework

Meet the Characters

The Sinclairs & Associates

Augustus Wolverton Sinclair, seventh Baron Leighton


  • Seventh Baron Leighton
  • Lives in Surrey at his family home, Rocksavage
  • Father of Severin; adopted father of Christof
Severin Sinclair


  • Sinclair’s son and heir
  • Friend of Alfie – they went to boarding school together
  • Hates Christof with a passion
Nelson the Mastiff


  • Severin’s English mastiff
  • Favorite chew toy: 200-year-old rugs
Christof Ehrlichmann


  • Born in West Germany
  • Befriended by Sinclair in 1973
  • Adept at forging signatures, sketches, paintings
Roza Mironova


  • Christof’s girlfriend
  • Bolshoi ballerina

The Lazovskys & Associates

Makar Lazovsky


  • Member of the vory v zakone, a Russian brotherhood of thieves
  • Husband of Elena
  • •Father of Valentin
Elena Lazovsakya


  • Makar’s wife
  • Mother of Valentin
Valentin Lazovsky


  • Son of Makar and Elena
  • Made his money smuggling arms during & after the fall of Communism
  • Patron of the Bolshoi Ballet


  • Chief of the FSB’s Investigation Directorate
  • Has access to SORM data – records of all internet and mobile traffic from all online devices in Russia
Maxim Starinov


  • Head of the FSB
  • Angling for a higher position in the Russian government

The Public Security Intelligence Bureau

Vadim Primakov


  • Deputy Director of the Public Security Intelligence Bureau
  • Former Yeltsin associate
  • Widower; father of Liliya
  • Hired Constantine and Viktor
Liliya Primakova


  • Daughter of Vadim
  • Part-time security consultant
  • Full-time hacker
Viktor Zhilin


  • Former mercenary who fought in the Second Chechen War
  • Favorite TV show: Ab-Fab; fakes a British accent
  • Friend and rival: Constantine
Constantine Dashkov


  • Former mercenary who fought in the Second Chechen War
  • Works for Vadim
  • Friend and rival: Viktor
Lana Dashkova


  • Constantine’s sister
  • Film student
  • Likes Armenian brandy

Brighton’s Auction House

Harry Fielding


  • Deputy Director of Brighton’s Auction House
  • Struggling to pay expensive office rent in Canary Wharf
Peter Seeley


  • Lab manager
  • Responsible for security & accuracy of tests run on the Dante manuscript
Alfie Granger


  • Lab tech
  • Introduced to Fielding by Sinclair
  • Severin’s friend; went to boarding school together