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The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark
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's review
Feb 19, 09

really liked it
Read in February, 2009

After a bit of a slow start, this book hooked me and held on right to the end. It's the story of Luciano, a homeless orphan in 1495 Venice, who is inexplicably taken in by the magnificent Amato Ferrero, chef to the doge of Venice. Chef Ferrero makes Luciano his apprentice, and after several months of menial chores such as carrying water and maintaining the stock pot, he begins to learn the arts of cooking. Meanwhile, rumors are rampant about an ancient book that allegedly contains (depending upon which report you believe) the secret of alchemy, a strong love potion, and/or an elixer for immortality. Everyone seems intent on finding and possessing this book, from the doge to Pope Alexander (aka Rodrigo Borgia) and in fact several rewards have been offered for its discovery. As we and Luciano learn more of the truth about the fabled book, Luciano also learns many lessons about friendship, trust, loyalty, and the importance of preserving knowledge. The descriptions of late fifteenth-century Venice are compelling, and the tale is filled with great characters, some lovable, some not so much. A good story for anyone who likes historical mysteries/thrillers.
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