I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
Published by Melville House on May 10, 2016
Genres: Historical, Literature & Fiction, Metaphysical & Visionary, Mysteries, Religious & Inspirational
Buy on Amazon
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 sixteenth 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 reader to a stunning conclusion in the original Venice . . . and the bedazzled sense of having read a truly original and thrilling work of art.
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay was an impressive melding of three very different stories into one. Starting at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas in 2003, Curtis is seeking a man named Stanley who owes a gambling debt. Tracking him through the city, Curtis comes upon a book. The book is Stanley’s favorite and as he is told the story of how Stanley found it we are taken back to Venice Beach in 1958. Stanley is a runaway teen living in a squat and seeking out a poet who wrote the book he holds dear. As he finds the author he is then told the tale of the writing and we sink into Venice Italy in 1592. There a man named Crivano is seeking a way out with his new mirror technology.
The Mirror Thief had quite the plot. It wrapped three stories in three distinct times together in a way that made total sense while reading it. I must say, I did enjoy the first story with Curtis in Las Vegas and the third story of Crivano in Italy the best but understand why the middle portion was needed. The writing of Martin Seay was impressive. It takes a true wordsmith to be able to combine such different time frames, locations and characters and it was done well in the book. The pacing did create some confusion for me, particularly in Stanly’s story arc. I had a bit of trouble keeping up with his actions and when they were happening. The world built was massive and had a feeling of being a sketch rather than a fully realized drawing. It actually worked well for this story as if too much detail had been added it would have been a 1,000 page plus read. There were some emotions in the writing, however I felt that the actions of the characters were prominent and not how they felt about what they were doing. The characters were a large and diverse cast including card counters, security, beatnik poets, hipsters, and Italian whores. They should not all work together but they actually do.
The Mirror Thief is quite an undertaking of a book. Martin Seay crafted a set of stories that do not seem as if they will fit together, but somehow they do and it all makes sense. I really enjoyed the ride I was taken on with this read and can see why it has already gotten such great buzz. This was Seay’s debut and he is one to watch. I can only imagine what will come next.
Favorite lines – This is what you’ve wanted all along: freedom from what’s trapped you in this world. Freedom from yourself. At the end, they say, your whole life’s supposed to flash before your eyes. Flash: that’s the word they always use. You hope like hell it isn’t true. It’s been a long time since looking last held any interest. Lately, what jazzes you is what you can’t see: the way the spell of vision gets broken, the way your breath fogs the glass when you get too close. All these years, dragged around by your eyeballs: you’ve had about enough. A goddamn slideshow! What the hell kind of death is that for a person?
Biggest cliché – Let me tell you a story…
Have you read The Mirror Thief, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge