**This was supposed to be a review but I have not been feeling well lately so I haven't finished the book yet. I will post my full review A.S.A.P!**
It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secrets of unimaginable power. Rich and poor alike speculate about the the long buried secret that might be scrawled in its pages and where the book might be hidden in the labyrinth in the city. While those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it.
As a storm of intrigue percolates in Her Most Serene Republic, Luciano, a penniless orphan, is plucked off the street by the doge's chef and taken in as the chef's apprentice. In the palace kitchen Luciano is initiated into the chef's rich and mysterious world where recipes are more than they seem.
It is not long before Luciano is caught up in the madness. Torn between loyalty to his street friends and his passion for Francesca, a convent girl, Lucianco's worthiness is tested. Armed with a precocious mind and insatiable curiosity, Luciano embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. What he discovers will swing open the shutters of his mind, inflames his deepest desires, and leave an indelible mark on his soul.
Read the Excerpt
My name is Luciano ― just Luciano. I'm Venetian by birth, old now and chained to my memories, compelled to return, link by link, seeking clarity.
There's a matter about which I am sworn to secrecy, but times have changed since I took my oath. In my lifetime, I've witnessed man's emergence from centuries of darkness. Great thinkers have unlocked our minds, and great artists have opened our eyes and our hearts. Some are calling it a renaissance ― a rebirth ― and it will reverberate far into the future because of a miraculous new invention called the printing press. Perhaps, now, it would be a disservice to the advancement of knowledge to remain silent. Perhaps the pendulum has swung a full arc, and the time has come for me to speak. If I proceed with caution . well, those who have ears let them hear.
The intrigue took place in my youth, when I served as an apprentice to the doge's chef in Venice. I first suspected some unholy mischief when the doge invited an uncouth peasant to dine with him in the palace. In the time-honored tradition of servants everywhere, I assumed my post behind the slightly open service door to the dining room in order to spy, and I marveled at the sight of them together: the doge, chief magistrate of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, gracious and bejeweled, sat with his guest, a bewildered paesano with calloused hands, dirt under his fingernails, and unwashed hair that had been hastily whetted and pushed off his face to show respect.