Secrecy by Rupert Thomson

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Secrecy is beautifully plotted, too; not a scene or an exchange wasted, as the characters' secret pasts are glimpsed in fragments and eventually woven together towards a fleeting resolution.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A sorcerer in wax. A fugitive. Haunted by a past he cannot escape. Threatened by a future he cannot imagine.
 
Zummo, a Sicilian sculptor, is summoned by Cosimo III to join the Medici court. Late seventeenth-century Florence is a hotbed of repression and hypocrisy. All forms of pleasure are brutally punished, and the Grand Duke himself, a man for whom marriage has been an exquisite torture, hides his pain beneath a show of excessive piety.

The Grand Duke asks Zummo to produce a life-size woman out of wax, an antidote to the French wife who made him suffer so. As Zummo wrestles with this unique commission, he falls under the spell of a woman whose elusiveness mirrors his own, but whose secrets are far more explosive. Lurking in the wings is the poisonous Dominican priest, Stufa, who has it within his power to destroy Zummo’s livelihood, if not his life.
 
In this highly charged novel, Thomson brings Florence to life in all its vibrant sensuality, while remaining entirely contemporary in his exploration of the tensions between love and solitude, beauty and decay. When reality becomes threatening, not to say unfathomable, survival strategies are tested to the limit. Redemption is a possibility, but only if the agonies of death and separation can be transcended.
 

About Rupert Thomson

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The author of six previous novels--most recently, The Book of Revelation--Rupert Thomson was born in England and now lives with his wife and their daughter in Barcelona.From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
Published April 22, 2014 by Other Press. 396 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Secrecy
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Feb 06 2014

Thomson succeeds on a number of levels here, for the novel works as a mystery, as a love story, as a historical novel and, more abstractly, as an exploration of aesthetic theory.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Feb 10 2014

...the plot twists take a back seat to the complex picture Thomson gives of his oddball protagonist, a man given to wandering around carrying “little theaters filled with...the dead and dying” in the name of art.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on Mar 23 2013

Secrecy is beautifully plotted, too; not a scene or an exchange wasted, as the characters' secret pasts are glimpsed in fragments and eventually woven together towards a fleeting resolution.

Read Full Review of Secrecy | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Christobel Kent on Mar 20 2013

It informs the brilliance of Thomson's characterisation, from the morbid monomania of a tormented Cosimo, to the brutish, coiled savagery of the Dominican enforcer Stufa, to the ghostly sadness of a neglected child.

Read Full Review of Secrecy | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for Secrecy
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