Like many of its ilk The Savage
Garden combines two mysteries in one, one
ancient and one modern. It's late Spring 1958; Adam
Banting, an intelligent but callow history of art
student, has yet to choose a thesis subject for his
final exam the following year, so is delighted to
take up his professor's suggestion that he spend
part of his summer researching a Renaissance villa
in Tuscany, which can then form the basis of his
thesis. Shortly after, Adam sets off for a summer
that (we know from the prologue) will change him
Mills embroiders themes of passion, survival and divided family loyalties into a plot as deft and as civilized as the setting. The Savage Garden is easily on a par with other recent high brow literary thrillers ...
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