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Extended Audio Sample The Savage Garden Audiobook, by Mark Mills Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,776 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Mills Narrator: Ian Stuart Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781423337973
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Adam Strickland, a somewhat aimless young scholar at Cambridge University, is called to his professor’s office one afternoon and assigned a special summer project: to write a scholarly monograph about the famous Docci garden in Tuscany. Dedicated to the memory of a fifteenth-century nobleman’s young wife, the garden is a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills, and classical inscriptions. But Adam comes to suspect that something sinister lies buried in the garden’s strange iconography. What if Lord Docci’s wife was murdered, and her memorial garden is filled with pointers to both the method and the motive of the crime?

As the odd history unfolds, Adam finds himself drawn into a parallel intrigue. Through his evolving relationship with the lady of the house—the ailing, seventy-something Signora Docci—he hears stories of yet another violent death in the family, this one much more recent. The Signora’s eldest son was shot by Nazi officers on the third floor of the villa, and her husband, now dead, insisted that the area be sealed and preserved forever. Like the garden, the third-floor rooms are frozen in time.

As Adam delves into his subject, he begins to suspect that his seemingly innocent history project might be a setup. Is he really just the naive student, stumbling upon clues, or is he being used to discover the true meaning of the villa’s murderous past?

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cindy | 2/16/2014

    " Honestly I couldn't get very far into this book. It didn't peak my interest at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 2/7/2014

    " Listened to it and probably would have been better had I read it since I had a hard time keeping track of all the different family connections. Loved the dry British humor and it was an interesting art history mystery... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Rosenthal | 2/1/2014

    " A darkly provocative mystery set in the Tuscan hills; clue by clue the mystery of the ancient garden is revealed; and a more recent murder. Fun! Fun! Fun! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 marsha | 1/31/2014

    " A surprising story about the secrets within a family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gillian | 1/30/2014

    " Got this as a swap whilst on holiday having whizzed through my book club book. Its just great. A love story (not my usual thing) but an old murder mystery with roman gods thrown in for good luck. Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay | 1/9/2014

    " An amazing novel that has 2 distinct mysteries that get solved within, narrated by an English art student still not yet having found himself. It was written by a screenwriter who delighted me in writing in a beautifully visual style that had me immersed in Tuscany in the hot summer of 1958. There is some post-WW II intrigue, as well as some humor, love and drama, surrounded by a Renaissance Tuscan garden and villa, all interwoven in a book I couldn't put down. This author, Mark Mills, deservedly won recognition with his first novel, Amagansett, which took place in post-WW II Long Island, New York. There are 2 more of his I will need to track down! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheri | 1/6/2014

    " I found this on the street. It was not bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristina | 12/28/2013

    " Really enjoyed this book. It moved along quickly and painted a vivid picture of the architecture within the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diana Apperley | 11/20/2013

    " Quite a good story but I didn't feel the writing was up to much. Wouldn't recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 8/30/2013

    " I don't know how he did it, but this is a love story, history who dunnit, study of the classics (dante), which is set in 1958, with a magnificant back history. It sounds like it should be a mess and difficult to ready - but it's a really well paced novel and a lovely read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsey | 5/13/2013

    " Um, a tad predictable & pretentious. Read it if you like the Italian countryside in the 50s. And murder "mysteries". "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Felicia | 5/12/2013

    " A promising but disappointing book, in my opinion. Too many characters and descriptions made me lose interest along the way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary G. | 3/28/2013

    " A very captivating story. As one reviewer noted it slowly built. I liked Mills first novel a little more but he truly is a gifted writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 1/5/2013

    " Intriguing....I enjoyed the connections made between the classics and the garden as the mystery unfolded! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Babete | 12/21/2012

    " Um romance invulgar e cativante. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Whitney | 12/10/2012

    " This book starts out slowly, but a very interesting and complicated plot unfolds. The story hinges on some knowledge of mythology and art/art history; something I wish I knew more about. I may read it again just to learn more about the allusions used throughout. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeana | 11/16/2012

    " This book was GREAT! I loved the mystery that I wasn't expecting and I loved that it was set in Tuscany. I spent many afternoons in the seaside town where one scene takes place. If you liked Da Vinci Code, then you'll love this, too! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fiona Glass | 8/14/2012

    " Two of my favourite things - an intriguing mystery and a beatiful garden - in one. What's not to like? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie Grainger | 11/10/2011

    " This was a very interesting story! Fascinating and engaging!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Greenwood | 11/7/2011

    " Great mix of history, intrigue and architecture. Riveting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pattie | 9/28/2011

    " Pleasant to read on hot summer nights, very evocative, but thin in the end. Plus I thought the women were pretty...uh...sexually liberated for the time (early 1950s). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susanne | 9/25/2011

    " great book. Well written, good storyline. I would definately recommend this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paula Smith | 8/3/2011

    " The second book I've read by him, the first being The Information Officer. He is an awesome writer. Loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pa | 5/22/2011

    " An interesting story of an Italian garden and the mystery that it holds. There actually are two 'murder mysteries' entwined: one from several hundred years ago and one from WWII. A decent plot and some interesting characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 5/2/2011

    " I really enjoyed Amagansett, so was excited to read this, but found it a little less interesting than expected. An enjoyable read, but not a page-turner as I'd hoped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawna | 3/27/2011

    " This was a Book Club read so I "had" to finish it. It started out slow for me but I found more interested as the book moved along. Toward the final 1/3 of the book, the need to read what was happening kept me up late. A good mystery and a taste of Italy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emma | 3/19/2011

    " More like 3.5, but very good! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ana | 3/9/2011

    " My first DNF of the year, I couldn't even get myself past 100 pages. Yawn!

    I skimmed to the end to see if the story got any better, and it didn't! :-s "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Babete | 2/4/2011

    " Um romance invulgar e cativante. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rissi | 12/26/2010

    " Good imagery, neat mystery with history and interesting people in a twisty plot. Really liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zeke | 12/15/2010

    " This is a pretty good mystery, especially if you like a slooow reveal. Right now, I'm preferring a faster plot, with more action. Recommended to anyone who likes smart, literary mysteries. Oh and learn more about Italy and art in the process! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 11/24/2010

    " This was an amazing surprise of a read, not what I was expecting at all. Intrigue, family drama, a centuries old mystery tied into a current mystery all at a beautifully vivid villa in Italy. Just a GREAT read! "

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About the Author

Mark Mills is a screenwriter and the author of The Savage Garden and Amagansett. His first novel, Amagansett, was published in a dozen countries and received the British Crime Writers’ Association John Creasy Memorial Dagger Award. A graduate of Cambridge University, he lives in Oxford with his wife and their two children.

About the Narrator

Ian Stuart was born in London, England. He was an actor, known for Rainbow Rabbit Reliant (2010), Anima (1998) and The Deadliest Season (1977). He was married to Alexandra O’Karma. He died on February 17, 2013 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA.