The Savage Garden: A Thriller by Mark MillsThe Savage Garden: A Thriller by Mark Mills

The Savage Garden: A Thriller

byMark Mills

Paperback | May 6, 2008

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Young Cambridge scholar Adam Banting is in Tuscany, assigned to write a scholarly monograph about the famous Docci garden—a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills, and classical inscriptions. As his research deepens, Adam comes to suspect that buried in the garden’s strange iconography is the key to uncovering a long-ago murder. But the ancient house holds its own secrets as well. And as Adam delves into his subject, he begins to suspect that he is being used to discover the true meaning of the villa’s murderous past.
Mark Mills is a screenwriter; among his credits is the script for "The Reckoning", adapted from Barry Unsworth's novel Morality Play. Mills lives with his family.
Title:The Savage Garden: A ThrillerFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 8.24 × 5.55 × 0.95 inShipping dimensions:8.24 × 5.55 × 0.95 inPublished:May 6, 2008Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425221296

ISBN - 13:9780425221297


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Entertaining read I enjoy Mark Mill's books. I read this around the same time I picked up The Information Officer and Amagansett. This was bit less intriguing than those two but it was a good one-time read. I liked the characters but they weren't particularly memorable.
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A nice summer mystery A mystery set in the 50's about a young British College student who goes to Italy to work on his thesis. His professor sends him to the villa of an old friend who has a mysterious garden and he wants to unlock the 400 year old secrets. Along the way he becomes entangled a more recent mystery involving a murder during the recent war. I didn't always like the main character, Adam, he was arrogant and presumptuous, but by the end of the book you find out that this is an integral part of the plot. I still think I'd rather read about his brother, Harry, who seems to lead a very interesting life.
Date published: 2012-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Haunting... I finally finished this book....loved it, it was haunting, set in Italy just outside of Florence a few years after WWII. I was hoping for a better ending, a bit of a disappointment. But the characters were strong, mysterious in many ways. The garden takes on a life of its own, makes you want to know more, keep reading. By some odd coincidence, as i was reading this book, i decided to do an internet search for my grandfather who never returned from WWII. We have never been able to find a trace of him except that he had been sent to Italy. As more and more data is archived online, i suppose the chances increase of people finding information....after typing in missing german soldiers, first website, a search for my grandfathers name, and there he was, the cemetary where he lies, row number, grave number. Just northwest of Florence...where i'm now taking my mom in September...the coincidence just warrants mentioning, as everything tied in together randomly.
Date published: 2009-03-22

Bookclub Guide

ABOUT MARK MILLSMark Mills is a screenwriter; among his credits is the script for The Reckoning, adapted from Barry Unsworth's novel Morality Play. Mills lives with his family and is at work on his second novel. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSDid you find the map at the beginning of the novel helpful? If so, would you have preferred a map of Italy as well? Or, perhaps, sketches of the statues and the mythological scenarios? Do you think Harry’s character exists only for comic relief or does he offer some insight and depth to the storyline of the novel? Comments made by Professor Leonard such as “Francesca Signora Docci…she’s old now, and frail by all accounts. But don’t underestimate her” as early as on page 16 serve as foreshadowing. What other instances of foreshadowing appear in the book? Are they all equally effective? The author touches upon the theme of closure numerous times throughout the novel—from a 300-year old murder to the death of Emilio to Adam’s father’s infidelity. How important is closure within the frame of the book’s world? Adam and Antonella first take a tour of the garden in Chapter 8. On page 71 Mills makes the following statement as the two make their way into the temple: “The building was dedicated to Echo, the unfortunate nymph who fell hard for Narcissus. He, too preoccupied with his own beauty, spurned her attentions, whereupon Echo, heartbroken, faded away until only her voice remained.” This scenario seems to metaphorically describe Adam and Antonella’s relationship at the end of the novel: Adam too preoccupied with solving the mystery and she, heartbroken and speechless with only a letter in hand. In what ways does the author utilize this paralleling with his other characters and mythological creatures? Did you find the novel’s ending to be anti-climactic? Was Maurizio’s guilt evident too early on in the novel? Although The Savage Garden is a mystery novel, romance plays a large role throughout the story. What positive or negative effects does this have on your experience and opinion of the novel? Mills makes numerous references to literary classics such a Dante’s The Divine Comedy and Machiavelli’s Il Principe. Although he explains their significance to the plot, do you feel that having read those works in full could lead to a different, more in-depth perspective on The Savage Garden? Toward the end of Francesca’s letter to Adam she says, “I meant what I said to you just before we sat down to dinner at the party. I asked you then to remember my words. Do you? I hope so, because they are as true as any I have ever spoken.” What exactly were Francesca’s words? History, specifically the history of World War II and other major battles, have a strong prensence throughout the novel. Discuss how including these battles affect the novel. Could the author have set The Savage Garden following another battle without losing the effect? Do you feel that there is a deeper meaning behind the reveal of Emilio being Professor Leonard’s son? Or do you think perhaps the author has included this as simply another issue for the characters to overcome?

Editorial Reviews

?A romantic and gracefully executed literary puzzle.? ?New York Times Book Review ?A sumptuous tale of multiple mysteries, family intrigues and hearty Continental flavor that demonstrates Mills has earned a prime place at the crime fiction table.? ?Baltimore Sun ?Alluring, mysterious.? ?New York Times ?Outstanding.? ?Publishers Weekly (starred review) ?In his first suspense novel, Amagansett, Mark Mills displayed a literary voice that was thoroughly embracing. The same is true in The Savage Garden.? ?New York Daily News