The Chef's Apprentice
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 who hold its key. In a world of violence an d in trigue, who guards the truth?
Reading Group Guide
“The art of cooking, like the art of living, must be savored for its own sake.”
In late fifteenth century Venice, a twist of fate takes orphaned Luciano from a life on the streets to the doge’s lavish palace. The young urchin catches the eye of the doge’s chef, both for the unusual birthmark on his face and for his daring act of stealing an exotic item, a pomegranate, from a street vendor. Luciano becomes Chef Ferrero’s apprentice and is introduced to a decadent world of culinary arts and palace intrigue.
The Book of Unholy Mischief unfolds against the backdrop of a city both beautiful and sinister, where every whisper is a secret or a lie. Soon everyone in the seaside republic, from paupers to the ruthless members of the ruling Council of Ten, is whispering about the existence of an ancient book of unimaginable power—said to be an alchemist’s dream with recipes for gold, immortality, and undying love. Headstrong and curious, Luciano soon becom see more