A sculptor of the macabre. A sorcerer of wax. A criminal. A runaway. Zummo is exactly what the last great Medici ruler of Florence needs.
Zummo - a 17th- century prodigy and creator of figures so realistic they look as though they might draw breath - has spent his life fleeing his past. Summoned to the Medici court by the Grand Duke, a man of holy devotions and hidden longings, Zummo finds himself in a city riddled with hypocrisy and contradictions, where adulterers are publicly flogged, while within the palace walls members of the court indulge their nefarious pleasures. Commissioned by the Grand Duke to sculpt a life-size Venus from wax, Zummo scours the streets for inspiration. But 1690s Florence is a place of unforseen dangers and secrets still more devastating than his own, and when a young woman's body is found on the banks of the Arno, Zummo suspects that the source of vice has its bed in the Medici court. As he proceeds with his creation, he begins to wonder whether this perfect woman will be his salvation or his downfall.
Set in a Florence blighted by corruption and austerity, Secrecy is a tour de force of whispered pleasures and startling revelations. It is a scintillating, breathtaking read from a novelist at the height of his powers.
Rupert Thomson is the author of eight highly acclaimed novels: Dreams of Leaving, The Five Gates of Hell, Air and Fire, The Insult, Soft, The Book of Revelation, Divided Kingdom and most recently, Death of a Murderer, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award and by World Book Day for the Book to Talk About 2008. His memoir, This Party's Got to Stop, also published by Granta, won him the Writers' Guild Non-Fiction Award. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
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