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Extended Audio Sample The Book of Unholy Mischief: A Novel, by Elle Newmark Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,252 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elle Newmark Narrator: Raúl Esparz Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Elle Newmark's richly seductive prose brings to life the color and scandal of fifteenth-century Venice. Through Luciano, a street urchin apprenticed to a great chef in the palace of the doge, Newmark tells a wicked tale of political and papal intrigue. In Venice where every whisper is a secret or a lie, Luciano's initiation into the chef's spicy world makes for deliciously suspenseful listening.

The Book of Unholy Mischief is more than terrific historical drama; its a love story, an investigation into ancient religious secrets that haunt us today, and its a story of intrigue replete with pulse-pounding chase scenes, murderous assassins, torture chambers and conniving, desperate characters. It's beautifully written, authentically detailed, and fiendishly well plotted. Listeners will want their friends to read or listen to it so they can talk about it over dinner in their favorite Italian restaurant.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What Newmark does bring to the novel…is a richness of atmosphere…It’s clear that her interest lies more in place than chase, and there are some wonderful set pieces that bring the city sparklingly to life…So The Book of Unholy Mischief turns out to be an unexpected hybrid, a highly flavored and faintly preposterous romp that is also a meditation on food, ideas and the importance of keeping hold of the principles of free thought in a world oppressed by censorship.” 

    New York Times

  • “Newmark does a fine job of building suspense and keeping the novel barreling along, and her knowledge of and affection for fifteenth-century Venice adds charm to this nicely told adventure yarn.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Raúl Esparza gives a thoroughly engrossing performance, understated and subtle, with nuance to spare, in Elle Newmark’s fantastical exploration of life in Venice at the end of the fifteenth century…Esparza’s narration enhances Newmark’s lavish, mouth-watering descriptions of food, and with slight vocal shifts and just the suggestion of Italian accents, he adds mystery and romance, highlighting court intrigues, the odors and aromas of Venice, and Newmark’s many quirky characters. Especially recommended for listeners who aren’t dieting.” 


  • “Newmark uses great historical detail and marvelous descriptions of food to make this debut historical novel come alive. Recommended.” 

    Library Journal

  • Selected for the January 2009 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Bill | 1/30/2014

    " I read this a while back. It was not my cup of tea, but the writing was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Julia | 1/21/2014

    " I enjoyed this epic tale, despite its wandering down some paths already traveled. The food writing was inspirational, the characters well-developed, the history interesting. A good insight into what life was like in 14th century Italy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nivasilyev | 1/19/2014

    " set in Italy, this book is C+ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Louise Silk | 1/12/2014

    " Interesting composition of orphan taken in by cook who holds secret recipes as part of Gospels. I loved the intersection of all of the elements into a workable story. "

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