Crime, Historic Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Isle of the Dead, Book # 1
January 1st, 2013
In 15th century Venice it is a dangerous time to be alive. A permanent winter has rolled in over the canals and bodies keep washing up on the banks of the city. These bodies are especially hard to identify, since they have been skinned.
In the present day, a famous portrait by Titian has been discovered. Its subject: the 15th century suspected murderer Angelico Vespucci. The skins of Vespucci's victims were never found, so his guilt was never proven. Although it is rumoured that when the portrait arises, so will the man. And when flayed bodies start turning up all over the world, it looks like this is more than just a superstition. A murderer has been called back to life, and he is hungry for revenge.
About the book
I read this book for the Popsugar challenge of “Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenges”, I chose “a book of a female author”. At first I was convinced to read this book for the prompt “book with a heist”, but I remembered the title uncorrectly, even if there is a robbery in the book, but it is a very small fact compared to the actual robbery. Luckily it’s okay for another prompt (not that I wouldn’t read an extra book).
Of the author I read “The Caravaggio Conspiracy” before this and I really liked it. Sometimes (not always) I like intrigues born in the past and then brought into the present. This book starts in 1500 in Venice and ranges from London, Tokyo, New York and Venice itself.
When Gaspare Reni, an art collector, and Nino Bergstrom, his adopted son, come in possession of a Titian painting portraying the sixteenth-century murderer, Angelico Vespucci, they are alarmed by what might happen. There is a rumor that when the painting emerges, the sixteenth-century killer will also return, and in fact, shortly afterwards the one who found the painting is brutally murdered. Will Nino and Gaspare manage to get to the bottom of the painting legend, or will it be too late for the victims?
Some chapters are short and I adore them, others are not, but the plot is so compelling that I do not mind the lenght. I loved the book, the intricate plot and as I said I like books that have a mystery in the past that is brought to light in the present.
There are some flaws: in chapter 5, the guide complains about the weather in Italy in November and would like to be back in London… When I read this I think my eyes have become bigger by 10 cm from the “what the hell is this” . Seriously? Is the weather in London better than in Italy? But if everyone complains about the rain!
When foreign authors think that in all the world the wife changes her name when she marries… No in Italy it does not happen, you can not change the name unless there are adequate reasons. It is not as simple as in America or in other parts of the world where the female surname is practically destroyed and thank goodness it does not happen here! A bit of freedom! Why should a woman take her husband’s last name when she marries? No thanks! So it is impossible that Serafina takes the name of her husband even if he is American (plus living in Italy, it is impossible).
Continuing with the flaws, I know I’m a bit OCD with this… But the author knows that in Italy there is the Euro? It seems to me that she is little informed on the details… Although the book, I repeat, is very nice, the details are a bit flawed and I love the details.
In conclusion, I liked the book, it is well structured for almost the whole story, apart from the epilogue… really? What kind of epilogue is it? It was better to end with the part in the past… But this does not mean that this book isn’t beautiful and compelling only the last pages leave me a bit puzzled.