THE SAVAGE GARDEN by Mark Mills
Kirkus Star

THE SAVAGE GARDEN

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In the second novel from Mills (Amagansett, 2004), a student unearths deadly secrets at a stately Tuscan villa.

Cambridge scholar Adam Banting gets an unexpected offer from his mentor, Prof. Crispin Leonard: to explore the exotic garden of Leonard’s old friend Signora Docci, and write an academic study of her singular garden. Having few other prospects and languishing in his relationship with aspiring writer Gloria, Adam accepts. Over ten years after WWII ended, the collective Italian psyche has conflicting emotions about its role in the war. Indeed, Signora Docci dotes on the memory of her son Emilio, whose death at the hands of German soldiers is shrouded in mystery. Adam gets contradictory snippets from a friendly local tradesman named Fausto and from the Signora’s flirtatious granddaughter, Antonella, among others, before his charming, no-account brother Harry arrives unexpectedly to complicate his life. The garden Adam’s come to study is lush and elaborate, its statuary eerily sensual and life-like. His appreciation warms the glamorous Signora Docci, and she unexpectedly takes him to bed, making him promise to keep their tryst a secret. He’s excited to discover that the nine tiers of the garden correspond to the Dante’s nine circles of Hell. As he uncovers more secrets about Emilio’s suspicious death, Adam realizes that subtle features of the garden are offering clues.

A murder puzzle wrapped around a literary deconstruction grounded in a perceptive study of seduction and survival. Sublime.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2007
ISBN: 0-399-15353-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2007




MORE BY MARK MILLS

FictionHOUSE OF THE HUNTED by Mark Mills
by Mark Mills
FictionAMAGANSETT by Mark Mills
by Mark Mills

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

MysteryISOLATION by Mary Anna Evans
by Mary Anna Evans
MysteryRITUALS by Mary Anna Evans
by Mary Anna Evans
FictionWHITE SHOTGUN by April Smith
by April Smith