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The Book of Unholy Mischief


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About the Author

Elle Newmark lives in the hills north of San Diego, California. Her father, the chef who inspired her book, lives next door. He's 90 year's old, and still cooking. This is her first novel and she is currently writing her second.


Luciano, the wily hero of Newmark's entertaining first novel, is only a street urchin when the doge of Venice's chef finds him, but once dragged into the kitchen as an apprentice, he discovers more bubbling than boiling water. While the town is in an uproar over the rumor of an ancient book containing magical potions and lessons on alchemy, Luciano pines away for a girl and learns the basics of chopping, sweeping and eavesdropping. As he and his maestro become friendlier, Luciano begins to learn that there's more to his teacher than a garden of strange plants and a box of spices. Newmark does a fine job of building suspense and keeping the novel barreling along, and her knowledge of and affection for 15th-century Venice adds charm to this nicely told adventure yarn. (Dec.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

In Renaissance Venice, Luciano is a starving orphan until Maestro Ferrero, master chef to the doge, plucks him off the street and makes him his apprentice. Bright but wary of his incredible luck, Luciano spies on everyone and everything in the palace. When he sees the doge poison a peasant he has invited to his table, Luciano is shocked but determined to find out more. He learns that the doge (and many of the most powerful men in Italy) is searching for a book that contains formulas for alchemy and potions for love and immortality. Luciano feels the need to find the book but is torn among his respect for his maestro, his love for Francesca (a beautiful novitiate he meets in the market), and loyalty to his best friend from the streets, Marco. If Luciano succeeds, whom will he honor with the prize? Newmark uses great historical detail and marvelous descriptions of food to make this debut historical novel come alive. Recommended for all libraries with historical fiction collections. [Originally self-published, this title won the iUniverse Editor's Choice Award and drew the attention of agents and publishers when the author threw herself an online book party.-Ed.]-Anna Nelson, Naples Regional Lib., FL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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