Thursday, April 24, 2014

Secrecy-Rupert Thomson

Secrecy Rupert Thomson Other Press, Apr 22 2014, $16.95 ISBN: 9781590516850 In 1691, Sicilian artist Zumbo sculptures in wax masterpieces of victims who died violent deaths. Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III admires his craftsmanship and invites the artist to come to Florence. Zumbo understands the importance of a powerful patron’s protection so accepts the offer. In Florence, Cosimo still misses his wife Marguerite-Louise d'Orléans who deserted him. He secretly commissions the sculptor to create the perfect life-sized female beauty. Zumbo obtains a corpse from the mortuary of a woman found in a canal. He wonders who killed the victim, what the motive was and is the mysterious dog’s head etched deeply into the top of her spine the work of the dangerous Dominican persecutors. Padre Stufa the Dominican wants Zumbo’s head, but impatiently waits for the artist to fall out of grace with the duke. When the Sicilian falls in love with Faustina, her secrecy may be the avenue for Stufa to achieve his objective as the Padre seeks to uncover what she diligently hides. This is a great historical biographical fictional account of the real Baroque sculptor Gaetano Giulio Zumbo. The atmospheric storyline transports the audience mostly to Florence towards the end of the seventeenth century though there are other references to France and Sicily with Zumbo telling much of the tale in a flashback while dying from natural causes a decade later. Readers will relish this strong entry as life in 1691 Florence is very dangerous even for a favorite of the Medici Duke. Harriet Klausner

No comments: