Title: The Book Of Unholy Mischief
Author: Elle Newmark
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: December 2008
How I Got It: Reviewed for Pump Up Your Book Tours
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.
The Book Of Unholy Mischief is an adventurous story set in Venice in the 1400s. It captures the life of Luciano, an orphaned youngster that is forced to steal in order to survive. He is later taken in by Ferrero, a chef to Venice’s most powerful man, and made an apprentice.
Luciano was a very likable character because he hoped and dreamed for a better future and took opportunities that were presented to him. At times he was a bit naïve and too curious for his own good. He poked his nose in business that didn’t concern him and got sucked up in the aftermath.
I liked this story because it was full of adventure, mystery, and just plain entertaining. Elle is a great storyteller. Her words are so vivid that you are instantly drawn into the story. I loved the food references. I’m a big fan of the Food Network and enjoy watching people like Paula Dean and Rachel Ray cook up delicious recipes. So, I enjoyed all the food talk and my mouth watered as I imagined the dishes Ferrero and Luciano created. Yes, I am hungry as I’m writing this review, and as soon as I finish, I have to go eat something. LOL!
One thing in the story that I didn’t particularly care for was the religious references. It didn’t take away from the story, nor did it improve it so I simply skimmed over it and got back to the real meat of the story.
I give The Book Of Unholy Mischief four flowers of love. I was pleasantly surprised to find out what the mysterious book really was about. So, if you are a fan of adventure, here's a great book to add to your TBR (To Be Read) list.