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Wednesday 13 October 2021

‘Inquisition’ by Alfredo Colitto

Published by Sphere,
29 September 2011.
ISBN 978-0-7515-4539-5
Translated by Sophie Henderson

The adventures of Mondino de Liuzzi, University physician in Bologna in 1311 all stem from his dissection of a corpse whose heart has been transformed into a block of iron.

Mondino finds himself pursued by Inquisitors and Templars while he searches for a scientific murderer. The tumultuous period when the Templars (having been denounced by Philip the Fair of France) are pursued as heretics and men believe that through alchemy, they can transmute substances into gold is shown in all its unpleasant reality.

The background of the lives of ordinary people is well illustrated, again, often as a reality of a harsh kind. The various motivations of the pursuers and pursued are logical for that era. This thriller about Mondino de Liuzzi is another example of the use of real people in historical crime fiction since he was, in reality, a university physician in Bologna in the early 14th century and published an important anatomical text.

The book works effectively as a thriller with tension building up as the body count mounts. Explanations for the strange events are found though the conclusion concerning alchemy and may require some acceptance of medieval beliefs about magical elixirs.

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer

Alfredo Colitto. At the age of thirty, after leaving any hope of adapting to a nine-to-five job, Alfredo Colitto decided to follow his passion for travelling and began journeying around the world. He spent some years in Mexico, and now lives in Bologna, Italy, with his wife Ana Luz. He teaches creative writing in Bologna, and he is also a translator from English and Spanish.

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