So for a change of pace A Reader's Respite went a-huntin' for a good piece of fiction on audio. With only a slight hesitation (picture our finger hovering uncertainly over the "click to purchase" button on Audible), we bravely downloaded The Book of Unholy Mischief, by Elle Newmark, narrated by Raul Esparza.
We've had our eye on this one for quite some time. Not sure if any of you out there remember this, but Newmark's book, after failing to find an interested publisher, was originally self-published in 2007 under the title of Bones of the Dead.
Now if you review books on a regular basis, A Reader's Respite is pretty confident that you've read your fair share of self-published novels. 99% of the time there is *ahem* a reason they are self-published and not put forth by a publishing house. Suffice it to say that those publishers know their stuff and if they don't think a book will find an audience, they are usually right.
Every once in a while, however, one slips through the cracks and Newmark's novel was the exception to the rule. Through sheer tenacity, talent and audacity, she managed to get the attention this novel so richly deserved.....and a seven-figure deal from Atria in the process.
Suffice it to say, this book is FABULOUS! How on earth did it get ignored by publishers the first time around?
The year is 1498 and the place is Venice. The Renaissance is about to dawn and a young street urchin named Luciano is taken in as an apprentice to a master chef. The chef, however, is not what he seems. Outwardly an esteemed employee of the doge of Venice (think: governor), the chef eventually reveals himself to be one of the Guardians, a keeper of ancient wisdom passed down secretly through the ages. Wisdom, it should be noted, that the powerful Pope in Rome -- Rodrigo Borgia, aka Pope Alexander VI -- would rather keep hidden from the masses.
The mere possession of this knowledge is a very dangerous preposition indeed. Especially once the doge and the Pope become aware of it's existence and begin the deadly hunt for it's acquisition.
Narrator Raul Esparza (you sexy thing, Raul!) more than does this riveting story justice....his accents and voices are absolutely spellbinding. Truly, A Reader's Respite would have been very happy indeed had the story gone on forever.Now if you want to get technical about the historical aspects of the novel, you'll find a few tidbits out of historical place and time. Easily forgiven, in our opinion.
So if you haven't taken a gander at this novel, consider the audio format. You won't be disappointed!
Obligatory FCC Disclosure: this audiobook was bought and paid for with our very own blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, so maybe not our blood. But definitely sweat and the occassional tears. Hey, who said earning a paycheck was easy?