A couple of reviewers have compared my novel, The Book of Unholy Mischief, to The DaVinci Code, and I would just like to say… Are you kidding?
The DaVinci Code is a modern thriller based on a questionable thesis. The Book of Unholy Mischief is a historical picaresque about the power of knowledge.
Yes, they are both set in Italy, but so is Under The Tuscan Sun. Yes, they both have an element of mystery, but so does Miss Marple. Perhaps the thing that makes reviewers antennae hum to the same vibration is the stuff about the Catholic Church. However, Dan Brown weaves a massive and debatable conspiracy theory, while I simply point out a few inconvenient historical facts. I'm hardly the first to do that (ask any Lutheran) and it’s not the main point of the book.
The Book of Unholy Mischief is about a street urchin in Renaissance Venice who is caught stealing a pomegranate by the doge's chef and becomes an apprentice in the palace kitchen.
The kid, Luciano, gets involved in all sorts of intrigues surrounding a mysterious book, and the church is a player (it's the Renaissance after all) and it looks like his boss and benefactor, the chef, is involved. So there's a story question and it happens in Italy and therefore… it must be Dan Brownish?
The thing that most readers mention about The Book of Unholy Mischief is the glut of food metaphors. All the chef's recipes mean something, and sometimes they mean trouble. I don't remember anyone having so much as a burger in The DaVinci Code while Unholy Mischief is a friggin' feast.
So I say again: Puleeese. Can we stop comparing books to The DaVinci Code? Can we get past this cookie-cutter mentality and read a novel on it's own merits? The Book of Unholy Mischief has something to say about the value of knowledge, and it says it with food. Dan Brown has zip to do with it. So if you read it, please keep that in mind, and buon appetito.
Visit me at www.ellenewmark.com.
So there you have it, from the author herself. Needless to say, I think I'm going to have to be going on a search this weekend for The Book of Unholy Mischief and partake of this feast myself.
I'd like to thank Elle Newmark for taking the time to tell us about her book!