A sculptor of the macabre. A sorcerer of wax. A criminal. A runaway.
Set in 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.
With a blurb like that, I was hanging out to read Secrecy by Rupert Thomson and picked up a copy for just $8.00 in a book sale.
Such a magnificent premise: an artist working in wax in Florence in the 1690s, obsessed with the plague and making wax figurines depicting the suffering of the human race. His dark matter attracts the attention of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who asks him to create a commission that is daring, never been done before and could cost the protagonist his life.
Somehow, the novel just didn't 'get there' for me. If anything, I felt as though Thomson was holding back dark aspects of character in case it made the protagonist unlikeable. I was also holding out for a scene featuring the Grand Duke with his commission that never took place.
Such a disappointing read when I was looking forward to it so much.
My rating = **