The Book of Unholy Mischief: Book summary and reviews of The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

The Book of Unholy Mischief

A Novel

By Elle Newmark

The Book of Unholy Mischief
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    384 pages.

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About this book

Book Summary

It’s 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice is teeming with rumors about an ancient book thought to hold dangerous secrets. Powerful men will stop at nothing to get it, and those who have it will die to protect it.

Luciano, a street orphan who survives by his wits, is taken into the kitchen of the doge’s palace to be the chef's apprentice. As Luciano is initiated into the mysterious alchemy of the kitchen, he catches hints of the chef ’s shadowed past as well as murderous plots brewing behind the scenes. Luciano finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue that will inflame his desires, test his loyalties, and force him to a heart-wrenching life-and-death decision.

Rich with historical detail, vivid characters, thought-provoking "heresies," and sumptuous culinary metaphors that readers will love, The Book of Unholy Mischief is a unique treat.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - Publishers Weekly.

"Newmark uses great historical detail and marvelous descriptions of food to make this debut historical novel come alive." - Library Journal.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Leslie, a Long Island booklover
The Book of Unholy Mischief
The book's title intrigued me with its connection to religion and books as they often do not go together with favorable outcome. From the beginning i was involved in the story as well as got a feel for the historical time. I can say that the premise of the book is plausible and offers a bit of to ponder. For my taste, i would suggest the book as a young adult best seller..character, plot, mischief, a tad of romance with great dialogue among the characters and the coming of age. I would not be surprised to see a sequel, which I would certainly read, as I read all of installments of Harry Potter

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Diana
An Entertaining Read
If you enjoy the writing style of Joanne Harris and the punch of Dan Brown then you will appreciate The Book of Unholy Mischief. The book is a nicely written coming of age story set in the renaissance period. The author does an excellent job portraying the lives of the rich and poor, the powerful and weak during this culturally complex time. But more than a boy's journey to self discovery and adulthood, the book takes on the sanctity of knowledge and the lengths people will go to own and preserve it. My only criticisms are that the characters border on stereotype and that the book may be too ambitious in its attempt to reveal knowledge in its many forms. All in all, I found The Book of Unholy Mischief an entertaining read.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Kathleen
The Book of Unholy Mischief
Other similar books I have read:

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This book kept my interest from the first sentence until the last. Along with being a very entertaining mystery/adventure, it has so many layers to it and so many thought-provoking questions that go back to our basic beliefs. I went to Google as reference a number of items.

The characters were so well defined and believable. I really cared about what happened to Luciano and the chef.

I would definitely read another book by Elle Newmark

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Fred
The Book of Unholy Mischief
I enjoyed reading the book. The book moved along well and kept my interest. I like historical fiction. We have traveled to Venice and it was easy to imagine where the story was taking place. It was also interesting how the author based much of the book around food and its preparation. It reminded me of the book "The Last Chinese Chef".

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Lesley
The Book of Unholy Mischief
This is a very enjoyable book that takes the reader back to Medieval Italy. It is a book with many points of interest: the love and creation of culinary delights, the search for a book purported to hold some valuable secrets, and the development of some lovely relationships; all told through the eyes of a young street orphan taken on as chef's apprentice.

This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys an intriguing multi-layered plot with many diverse characters.

Book clubs would benefit from reading this book because the multi-faceted plot would allow for a range of discussion points within the group.

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Kat
Poor to just okay at best
This book seemed very contrived as far as the plot was concerned and extremely improbable. Also, not sure it is historically accurate to the time period. The author threw in way too many different subjects without using or exploring them to any degree. I could have put this down at any time without hesitation.

...10 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Elle Newmark Author Biography

Elle Newmark is the acclaimed author of The Book of Unholy Mischief and The Sandlewood Tree. Sadly, she died in 2011 after a long illness; before which she lived and worked in the hills north of San Diego.

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. one surprise after another after another after another

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. remember to breathe

Q.
How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. To wear the world like a loose garment.

Q.
What’s your greatest fear?
A. not writing well

Q.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. In a clean well-lighted place working on my next novel ...

... Full Biography
Link to Elle Newmark's Website

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