Thursday, October 16, 2008


Savage Garden, Mark Mills, G P Putnam's Sons, 2007, 335 pp

I will just say right up front that I did not enjoy this book. It got stellar reviews in all the right places and sounded great: "a darkly provocative mystery set in the Tuscany hills: the story of two murders four hundred years apart-and the ties that bind them together." (from the back cover of the paperback.) Unfortunately, though Mr Mills can put a sentence together, he is not a good writer.

The hero, Adam, is a young Cambridge scholar though really he is a slacker. He is assigned by his advisor to travel to Tuscany and write a scholarly article about a famous garden at Villa Docci. There he finds statues, grottoes, meandering streams, mythology, a fascinating older woman descended from an ancient Italian family and an even more fascinating young woman for whom he lusts. Sound good, no?

No. Boring actually. How could someone make such a thrilling collection of ingredients boring? It's a wonder.

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