The Book of Unholy Mischief

The Book of Unholy Mischief

A Novel

Book - 2009
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It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. It is an alchemist's dream, with recipes for gold, immortality, and undying love. Everyone, rich and poor alike, speculates about the long-buried secrets scrawled in its pages and where it could possibly be hidden within the labyrinthine city. 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. Luciano's loyalty to his street friends and the passion he holds for a convent girl named Francesca remain, but it is not long before he, too, 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, not even those he's come to rely on most, 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.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2009, c2008
Edition: 1st Atria Books hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781416590545
Characteristics: 372 p. ; 24 cm


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Aug 19, 2014

One of the best books I have ever "read" -- I listened to the audio version. I was transfixed -- both by the story and by the reader. Totally wonderful!

marysneedle Aug 12, 2012

This was a very memorable book, the kind where the story sticks with you long after you have read the last page. The search for a book of secret knowledge is what attracted me to this book and it did not fail to delight me with every page. The characters are well developed with just enough of history to keep to the time period where the story takes place. I will never think of the culinary arts in the same way again.

ehbooklover Nov 19, 2010

Not at all what I was expecting but I hung in there and am glad that I did. Wonderful descriptions of life in 15th century Venice. Discusses the art of cooking. My main beef with this book is that I found most of the characters unappealing.

DanniOcean Jun 15, 2009

SPL Shelf Life column March 6, 2009


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DanniOcean Jun 15, 2009

It is the height of the Renaissance and in Rome the Borgia family is in power, but in the Republic of Venice a crafty doge reigns supreme. Although renowned for its intrigues and scandals, the city is abuzz with news of a mysterious book, and no one is more curious about it than Luciano, a lively orphan who has been rescued from the street by the doge’s personal chef. Luciano’s own tale is as furtive as the winding canals of Venice, with as many twists and murky depths that will keep readers entranced.


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