In a world of violence and intrigue, who guards the truth? 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. 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 wh
Ingredients of power and knowledge in Venice
By Michelle Boytim - March 8, 2012
Luciano, a street urchin in late 1500's Venice is pulled from the streets by the chef of the Doge. Instead of being punished, or merely offered a meal, he is made an apprentice. In addition to his tasks in the kitchen, he passes information from the dining room back to the chef, and much intrigue is happening within the palace, including poisonings. Throughout the country, the search is on for a mysterious book, thought to contain the secrets to immortality and power. As the book progresses, it is clear that our chef is more than he appears and is teaching Luciano more than recipes. Luciano is amazed at what the chef's recipes can do, and begins to think that he has secret knowledge and possibly mystical ingredients. As a young boy, he sometimes lets his own needs get him into trouble, for example by bragging to his friend or by falling for a novice at the convent. Things become frightening as the searchers descend in a hunt for the book and lives are at stake. This is a wonderful,... read more
By RSD - October 23, 2012
If you like historical fiction and a bit of mystery, then this is the book for you.
A nice light tale that speeds along at a good pace, with a bit of hidden depth.
Set in Venice in the middle ages - the underlying theme is still relevant today.
the Chef's Apprentice
By Trese Giguere - January 12, 2013
The story was written so well that my interest was engaged all the way to the end. I have also given it to family to read.