The Book of Unholy Mischief is more than terrific historical drama; its a love story, an investigation into ancient religious secrets that haunt us today, and its a story of intrigue replete with pulse-pounding chase scenes, murderous assassins, torture chambers and conniving, desperate characters. It's beautifully written, authentically detailed, and fiendishly well-plotted. Listeners will want their friends to read or listen to it so they can talk about it over dinner in their favorite Italian restaurant.
©2008 Elle Newmark; (P)2008 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
I found this book engaging, often humorous, and well-written. It is definitely not young adult, as the first reviewer suggests. Although not everything is completely plausible, taken as a whole, it was well-researched and internally consistent. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
First and foremost, a well written historical based fiction is appropriate for any age that can separate fact from fiction. Having said that, many adults aren't ready either. But I liked this story. And if the behavior of the early church is shocking and upsetting to religious folk - get over it. It's what it was. Mostly, it's a mystery and adventure with a nice big buttery chunk of history in a format that educates while entertaining. Think of it as Dickens for the Pope crowd - there's a lot of "scary" stuff in his work too. :)
Oddly, this book has been published under 3 different titles: Bones of the Dead, The Chef's Apprentice, and The Book of Unholy Mischief. I discovered this when doing research for my book club discussion. What a way to confuse! The premise is interesting (I won't spoil), but it's a little murky to me how the chefs' secrets began and were handed down from generation to generation. The narrative sparkles and provides insight into the daily lives, especially cuisine 15th and 16th century Venice. The wrap-up was a bit rushed and I'd like to have known more about what happened to Luciano and his family and why he...well, that would be a spoiler, too.
This book should have been classified as Young Adult. Notwithstanding its anti-religious theme, it seemed like a Sunday school lesson. I never read or listen to abridged versions of books, but this time I wish I had. I gave it two stars because the narrator was good, though some of his characters sounded like Tony Soprano.
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