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BLOG TOUR: Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark (Book Review 2010-140)

Product Description

In a world of violence and intrigue, who guards the truth?
It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumors about an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. It is an alchemist's dream, with recipes for gold, immortality, and undying love. But while those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it.
As a storm of intrigue and desire circles the republic that grew from the sea, Luciano, a penniless orphan with a quick wit and an even faster hand, is plucked up by an illustrious chef and hired, for reasons he cannot yet begin to understand, as an apprentice in the palace kitchen. There, in the lavish home of the most powerful man in Venice, he is initiated into the chef's rich and aromatic world, with all its seductive ingredients and secrets. It is not long before Luciano is caught up in the madness. After he witnesses a shocking murder in the Palace dining room, he realizes that nothing is as it seems and that no one can be trusted. Armed with a precocious mind and an insatiable curiosity, Luciano embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. What he discovers will swing open the shutters of his mind, inflame his deepest desires, and leave an indelible mark on his soul.
Rich with the luxurious colors and textures of Venice, The Book of Unholy Mischief delights the senses and breathes fresh life into an age defined by intellectual revival and artistic vibrancy. A luminous and seductive novel, it is, at its heart, a high-spirited tribute to the fruits of knowledge and the extraordinary power of those who hold its key.

About the Author

Elle Newmark is an award-winning writer whose books are inspired by her travels. She and her husband, a retired physician, have two grown children and five grandchildren. They live in the hills north of San Diego.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria; First Edition edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416590544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416590545


    This is a story that you can really sink your teeth into and the best part about this historical fiction novel is that it takes you directly to Venice in the 1400's, one of my favorite periods.  The amount of research and detail that went into this story is amazing.  There is an excellent mix of cooking, magic and evil.  The tale follows Luciano from his being apprenticed to a master chef, trying to help his friends with kindness and having that kindness thrown in his face.  It is wonderful to see a character grow as much as Luciano does.  I thought the Doge is an excellent evil foil for the goodness of Luciano. 

    The magic comes in to play when you read about the dishes the chef prepares and how the food itself can be used much like a drug. although I think some of the spices the chef uses are in fact drugs.  You need to read the story to get the full effect of the descriptions.  Sorry, I am not giving that part away.  There also is a bit of romance as well, since any good story needs one.  Francesca is the lady that has caught the eye of the young Luciano.  Another element that makes this one work.  I really recommend this for anyone who enjoys history,  food and mystery. 

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