Tuesday, 1 June 2021

THE POISON KEEPER by Deborah Swift @swiftstory #TuesdayBookBlog

5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Amazon.com
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: Ms Swift is one of my favourite authors - an instant buy.

In a Nutshell: Dangerous dukes and deadly potions in Renaissance Italy 

A rich and colourful novel to immerse yourself in - I loved it.  It is the fictionalised story of the real life Giulia Tofana of Palermo whose mother had an apothecary business in which, unbeknownst to Giulia at the time, she made lethal potions for those with a good reason to want them.  Disaster falls upon the family when one of her 'remedies' is discovered, and Giulia is forced to flee to Naples.

In Naples great danger is not far away, as she becomes involved in the fight against the corrupt system of power, makes new friends, and hones her skills.

Aside from being a cracking read as is the norm from Ms Swift, this book is a fascinating glimpse into the time and place, the customs, lifestyle and, of course, the apothecary business, both official and under-the-counter, as it were.  The intricate research is evident without ever being obvious (no information dumps!), the pace is perfect (no boring or slow bits!) and the characters shone out with great realism (Bruno, a mercenary contracted to the cunning Duke de Verdi, was my favourite).

Highly recommended, and I'm very much looking forward to Book #2 of the trilogy.


  1. Thank you so much for this fantastic review. Bruno was my favourite character too. I also warmed to Domenico as I was going along... :(
    Novels take so long to write, don't they, and then they're devoured in a few days! Really grateful for this review which I will probably quote ad infinitum!

    1. I often warm to my bad guys!

      I know, I always think that for me, about 10 months from conception to planning, to writing, all the polishing up then publication - and whoomph, someone reads it in two days!! It's how I feel about cooking too. Which is why I don't do much!

  2. I loved the Mr Pepys series, so this looks very enticing