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Secrecy

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Secrecy Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I had left my hometown of Siracusa in 1675, the rumors snapping at my heels like a pack of dogs. I was only nineteen, but I knew there would be no turning back. I passed through Catania and on along the coast, Etna looming in the western sky, Etna with its fertile slopes, its luscious fruits and flowers, its promise of destruction. From Messina I sailed westward. It was late July, and the night was stifling. A dull red moon, clouds edged in rust and copper. Though the air was motion-less, the sea heaved and strained, as if struggling to free itself, and there were moments when I thought the boat was going down. That would have been the death of me, and there were those who would have rejoiced to hear the news.

 

I was in Palermo for a year or two, then I boarded a ship again and traveled northeast, to Naples. I hadn’t done what they said I’d done, but there’s a kind of truth in a well-told lie, and that truth can cling to you like the taste of raw garlic or the smell of smoke. People are always ready to believe the worst. Sometimes, in the viscous, fumbling hours before dawn, as I was forced once again to leave my lodgings for fear of being discovered or denounced, such a bitterness would seize me that if I happened to pass a mirror I would scarcely recognize myself. Other times I would laugh in the face of what pursued me. Let them twist the facts. Assassinate my character. Let them rake their muck. I would carve a path for myself, something elaborate and glorious, beyond their wildest imaginings. I would count on no one. Have no one count on me. I was in many places, but I had my work and I believed that it would save me. All the same, I lived close to the surface of my skin, as men do in a war, and I carried a knife on me at all times, even though, in most towns, it was forbidden, and every now and then I would go back over the past, touching cautious fingers to the damage. It was in this frame of mind, always watchful, often sleepless, that I made my way, finally, to Florence.

Review:

"Beautifully evocative prose ('A burnt-orange sun dropped, trembling, from behind a bank of cloud, like something being born') makes this unusual historical novel truly memorable. In 1691, a mysterious artist known as Zummo, or Zumbo, with a taste for the macabre, is summoned to Florence by Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. After viewing a typically grim sample of Zummo's work, a tableau in wax depicting plague victims in various stages of deterioration (titled The Triumph of Time), Cosimo hires Zummo to craft a realistic-looking, life-sized woman out of wax. The commission rubs Dominican cleric Stufa, the spiritual adviser to Cosimo's mother, the wrong way. Subsequent court intrigue turns deadly, and, throughout, the reader wonders about the prologue, set in 1701, in which Zummo meets the abbess of a convent in Orléans, Marguerite-Louise, whom he confronts with news of her secret daughter before launching into a flashback to his involvement with the Grand Duke. But the plot twists take a back seat to the complex picture Thomson gives of his oddball protagonist, a man given to wandering around carrying 'little theaters filled with...the dead and dying' in the name of art. Agent: Peter Straus, RCW Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

US

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590516850
Author:
Thomson, Rupert
Publisher:
Other Press (NY)
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;historical fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.1 x 5.5 x 1 in 1 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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Secrecy New Trade Paper
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$16.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Other Press (NY) - English 9781590516850 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Beautifully evocative prose ('A burnt-orange sun dropped, trembling, from behind a bank of cloud, like something being born') makes this unusual historical novel truly memorable. In 1691, a mysterious artist known as Zummo, or Zumbo, with a taste for the macabre, is summoned to Florence by Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. After viewing a typically grim sample of Zummo's work, a tableau in wax depicting plague victims in various stages of deterioration (titled The Triumph of Time), Cosimo hires Zummo to craft a realistic-looking, life-sized woman out of wax. The commission rubs Dominican cleric Stufa, the spiritual adviser to Cosimo's mother, the wrong way. Subsequent court intrigue turns deadly, and, throughout, the reader wonders about the prologue, set in 1701, in which Zummo meets the abbess of a convent in Orléans, Marguerite-Louise, whom he confronts with news of her secret daughter before launching into a flashback to his involvement with the Grand Duke. But the plot twists take a back seat to the complex picture Thomson gives of his oddball protagonist, a man given to wandering around carrying 'little theaters filled with...the dead and dying' in the name of art. Agent: Peter Straus, RCW Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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