A globetrotting, time-bending, wildly entertaining masterpiece in the tradition of Cloud Atlas.
Set in three cities in three eras, The Mirror Thief calls to mind David Mitchell and Umberto Eco in its mix of entertainment and literary bravado. The core story is set in Venice in the 16th century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world's most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination - was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing? - the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however - a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose - has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city's terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten....
Meanwhile, in two other Venices - Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today - two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret.... All three stories will weave together into a spell-binding tour-de-force that is impossible to put down - an old-fashioned, stay-up-all-night novel that, in the end, returns the listener to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice...and the bedazzled sense of having listened to a truly original and thrilling work of art.
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Best book that I have listened to in a long time.
- Value Viewer
This book doesn't make a lick of sense.
I listen to almost everything Mr. Ballerini narrates. I think that he is one of the best narrators working now. However, even he cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. This is just plain nonsense.
I listened to this for almost six hours (!) waiting for it to make some kind of sense. Apparently there are people who like this sort of thing. At the time I read it, it had been reviewed by six readers, one of whom said that it was one of the best audiobooks he had ever read. This man (or woman) and I have absolutely nothing in common, at least in the realm of literature.
I will continue to read just about everything that he narrates. However, there have been a number of books that he has narrated that I just haven't enjoyed at all, and when I think about it, I note that several of them are about Italy, for what that's worth.
I would cut the whole thing. There would be nothing left.
- Richard Delman