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Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Savage Garden

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The Savage Garden

by Mark Mills

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills X
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
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  • First Published:
    May 2007, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2008, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book

This article relates to The Savage Garden

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Mark Mills is a novelist and screenwriter whose credits include the screenplay for The Reckoning, which he adapted from Barry Unsworth's novel Morality Play. His first novel, Amagansett, set in the small Long Island town of the same name in 1947, was published in the USA in 2004. In some countries, including the UK, it is titled The Whaleboat House. Described by one reviewer as Snow Falling on Cedars meets The Shipping News, Amagansett won the Crime Writer's of America John Creasey Memorial Dagger award, awarded to previously unpublished writers.

A graduate of Cambridge University, Mills lived for several years in Tuscany, where he had a business renovating farmhouses. He currently lives in Oxford, England, with his wife and two children


A Pictorial Tour through The Savage Garden
The house and gardens of the Villa Docci near Florence, built in the 1570s, are presumably fictitious, but are compared to the famous Italian Renaissance gardens of Villa di Castello and Villa Gamberaia, albeit on a smaller, more human scale (p.45).

Although most of the plot takes place in and around the Villa Docci, our narrator also visits various other Tuscan locales, including Florence, the walled town of San Casciano south of Florence (p.25), San Miniato al Monte (p.114), Sienna (p.261), Crete Senesi and the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and Pienza (p.261-262).

He also takes a quick trip to view the scenery along the hairpin bends of the Via Volterrana, taking in towns such as San Gimignano (p.260).


Did you know? Dorothy L Sayers (1893-1957) maybe best remembered as the author of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries but she was also a scholar of classical and modern languages, who considered her finest work to be her translation of Dante's Inferno, which is still in print and is frequently referred to by Adam during his investigations of the mysteries of the Villa Docci.

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This "beyond the book article" relates to The Savage Garden. It originally ran in May 2007 and has been updated for the May 2008 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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