summer-2013, radio-4, fradio, italy, published-2013, autumn-2013, bettie-s-law-of-excitement-lost, period-piece
Read from August 30 to September 07, 2013
BBC BLURB: "Some see you as a master craftsman. Others say you're a sorcerer. You're mysterious, obsessive. Controversial."
Zummo - a 17th-century sculptor - makes things out of wax, figures so lifelike they look as if they might move and breathe. He has journeyed throughout Italy over the years in an attempt to flee his past. Now, in 1691, he has been summoned to the Medici court by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He arrives in Florence, a city in which "everything was forbidden [and] anything was possible." But what does the Grand Duke have in mind for him?
Ten years later, Zummo visits a convent in France and tells the whole story to Marguerite-Louise of Orléans, long-estranged wife of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Secrecy is a tale of love, art, murder and concealment, enacted within a beautifully-realised 17th century Florentine and Tuscan setting.
Some of the 'plague pieces' by Gaetano Zummo (1656-1701) can be found in La Specola, Florence.
Rupert Thomson is the author of eight highly-acclaimed novels including Death of a Murderer, which was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Novel Award. His memoir This Party's Got to Stop won the Writer's Guild Non-Fiction Award.
Episode One In 1701, a frail, dying Zummo arrives at a French convent. He has a story to tell. His audience? Marguerite-Louise of Orléans, former wife of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Readers: Greta Scacchi and Owen Teale Abridger: Jeremy Osborne
Producer: Rosalynd Ward A Sweet Talk Production for BBC Radio 4.
half way through: this should of been blindingly interesting given the time, the gore factor, the morbid artistry. All I kept noticing was a spider web formed overnight between that delicious photo of the Nofolk sands and the wind-up pendulum clock. And how aqbout the windows?; fully fly blown.
2.5 upped to 3* because it is such a lovely sunny warm day.
2* Divided Kingdom