The Curse of Pietro Houdini

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Product Details
$28.99  $26.96
Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.2 X 1.13 inches | 1.17 pounds

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About the Author
Derek B. Miller is the author of six previous novels: Norwegian by Night, The Girl in Green, American by Day, Radio Life, Quiet Time, and How to Find Your Way in the Dark. His work has been shortlisted for many awards, with Norwegian by Night winning the CWA John Creasey Dagger Award for best first crime novel, among others. How to Find Your Way in the Dark was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a New York Times best mystery of 2021. A Boston native, Miller lives in Spain with his family.
"[An] urgent work that slyly honors authors both ancient and modern. . . Mr. Miller's book has the ring of truth and the echo of myth, and it deserves all the lucky readers who discover it." --Tom Nolon, The Wall Street Journal

"The Curse of Pietro Houdini boasts a little bit of everything--a truly fascinating setting; rich, quirky characters; tragedy, suspense, warmth and humor. Derek B. Miller has shown the range of his talents in six previous novels, but this may be his masterpiece. . . An epic novel that manages to convey an extraordinary yet realistic story encapsulating the horrors of war. . . Many readers, in fact, may be reminded of Anthony Doerr's beloved World War II novel, All the Light We Cannot See." --BookPage *starred review*

"Miller. . . is a splendid storyteller. . . the novel works equally well as wartime tale, heist thriller, coming-of-age story, and sweeping history and art lesson. . . A brilliantly imagined World War II saga." --Kirkus *starred review*

"A wonderful novel, full of heart and humor and stunning characters. Derek B. Miller's prose is deeply compelling, and he layers in quite a bit of detail to make it all the more realistic. For fans of historical fiction, this is a great read. It's exciting, but never strays too far away from a historical character drama, and is a unique perspective on the back half of World War II. . . Certainly one of my top reads from this year. Those who pick it up will have a great time with it." --The Colorado Sun

"Unflinchingly illuminates the traumas that World War II inflicted on civilians in Italy and presents the durability of love and the costs of war. . . Miller's straightforward and incisive writing and compelling, complex characters make the book worthwhile. Devastatingly sharp descriptions of the landscape augment the narrative. Ideal for historical-fiction fans who want insight on Italian civilians surviving World War II." --Library Journal

"[A] brilliantly imagined work of fiction. . . Entertaining and compelling, this extremely well-written and fast-paced novel uses many factual events as a background. Readers will enjoy the book's history and drama, as well as Miller's captivating cast of characters."

"Sometimes you read a book so astonishingly good you can't stop thinking about it. . . The Curse of Pietro Houdini is one of those rare books. War, art, violence, beauty, survival and a heroic mule, this story is so good." --The Southern Bookseller Review

"Cinematic. . . The cast of characters resembles a modern version of Chaucer's band of pilgrims--the boy, the art restorer who saves him, a nun, a cafe owner and murderer, a wounded German soldier and an injured mule named Ferrari." --Hadassah Magazine

"Epic." --The Washington Post

"Derek B. Miller delivers an irresistible story of defiance." --The Christian Science Monitor

"Top-notch historical fiction. . . Part buddy adventure, part coming-of-age story, part action-adventure tale . . . it's at times laugh-out-loud funny and at others heartbreakingly tragic (and occasionally it's both at the same time--a neat trick for any author to pull off). . . Miller's writing, too, is gorgeous, vividly describing moments of beauty amid the horror. . . In short, The Curse of Pietro Houdini checks all the boxes for truly great historical fiction: authentic, likable characters, exquisite writing, engrossing plot, and absorbing historical detail. . . This is a must-read for fans of World War II fiction, particularly those who've enjoyed novels like All the Light We Cannot See and City of Thieves. Highly recommended." --BookBrowse

"Filled with architectural and artistic detail and garnished with historical and philosophical notions culled from the classics and Renaissance thinking, this rich tale sails through violence and cruelty to emerge in redemption and a kind of justice the protagonist cannot anticipate at the beginning. It is a compelling story and it is written with craftsmanlike skill which will certainly keep the reader's interest and the pages turning." --Reading the West

"Full of wit and wisdom. . . The underlying subtle wit to Miller's writing always leaves me with an inner smile for reasons I can't quite explain, but it probably has to do with his indelible characters and how they manage to eke out the light in the dark times they wrestle with. I'll follow that story into any genre." --Audible

"A man bent on saving art from Nazi pillagers changes the life of an orphaned Italian teen in the appealing latest from Miller. . . [The] historical adventure is worth the price of admission." --Publishers Weekly