The Savage Garden

The Savage Garden
О книге

The No.1 bestselling novel and Richard & Judy Summer Read: a haunting tale of murder, love and lost innocence for fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Jed RubenfeldBehind a villa in the heart of Tuscany lies a Renaissance garden of enchanting beauty. Its grottoes, pagan statues and classical inscriptions seem to have a secret life of their own – and a secret message, too, for those with eyes to read it.Young scholar Adam Strickland is just such a person. Arriving in 1958, he finds the Docci family, their house and the unique garden as seductive as each other. But post-War Italy is still a strange, even dangerous place, and the Doccis have some dark skeletons hidden away which Adam finds himself compelled to investigate.Before this mysterious and beautiful summer ends, Adam will uncover two stories of love, revenge and murder, separated by 400 years… but is another tragedy about to be added to the villa's cursed past?


Читать The Savage Garden онлайн беплатно








August 1958

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Sample from House of the Hanged

About the Author



Also by Mark Mills


About the Publisher


For Caroline, Gus and Rosie


We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot, ‘Little Gidding’, Four Quartets

August 1958

Later, when it was over, he cast his thoughts back to that sun-struck May day in Cambridge – where it had all begun – and asked himself whether he would have done anything differently, knowing what he now did.

It was not a question easily answered.

He barely recognized himself in the carefree young man cycling along the towpath beside the river, bucking over the ruts, the bottle of wine dancing around in the bike basket.

Try as he might, he couldn’t penetrate the workings of that stranger’s mind, let alone say with any certainty how he would have dealt with the news that murder lay in wait for him, just around the corner.


He was known, primarily, for his marrows.

This made him a figure of considerable suspicion to the ladies of the Horticultural Society, who, until his arrival on the scene, had vied quite happily amongst themselves for the most coveted award in the vegetable class at their annual show. The fact that he was a newcomer to the village no doubt fuelled their resentments; that he lived alone with a ‘housekeeper’ some years younger than himself, a woman whose cast of countenance could only be described as ‘oriental’, permitted them to bury the pain of defeat in malicious gossip.

That first year he carried off the prize, I can recall Mrs Meade and her cronies huddled together at the back of the marquee, like cows before a gathering storm. I can also remember the vicar, somewhat the worse for wear after an enthusiastic sampling of the cider entries, handing down his verdict on the marrow category. With an air of almost lascivious relish, he declared Mr Atherton’s prodigious specimen to be ‘positively tumescent’ (thereby reinforcing my own suspicions about the good reverend).

Mr Atherton, tall, lean, and slightly stooped by his seventy-some years, approached the podium without the aid of his walking stick. He graciously accepted the certificate (and the bottle of elderflower cordial that accompanied it) then returned to his chair. I happened to be seated beside him that warm, blustery afternoon, and while the canvas snapped in the wind and the vicar slurred his way through a heartfelt tribute to all who had submitted Victoria sponges, Mr Atherton inclined his head towards me, a look of quiet mischief in his eyes.

‘Do you think they’ll ever forgive me?’ he muttered under his breath.

I knew exactly who he was talking about.

‘Oh, I doubt it,’ I replied, ‘I doubt it very much.’

These were the first words we had ever exchanged, though it was not the first time I had elicited a smile from him. Earlier that summer, I had caught him observing me with an amused expression from beneath a Panama hat. He had been seated in a deck chair on the boundary of the cricket pitch, and a burly, lower-order batsman from Droxford had just hit me for six three times in quick succession, effectively sealing yet another ignoble defeat for the Hambledon 2nd XI.

Adam turned the sheet over, expecting to read on. The page was blank. ‘That’s it?’ he asked.

‘Evidently,’ said Gloria. ‘What do you think?’

‘It’s good.’

‘Good? “Good ” is like “nice ”. “Good ” is what mothers say about children who don’t misbehave. Boring children! For God’s sake, Adam, this is my novel we’re talking about.’

Probably best not to mention the over-zealous use of commas.

‘Very good. Excellent,’ he said.

Gloria pouted a wary forgiveness, her breasts straining against the material of her cotton print dress as she leaned towards him. ‘It’s just the opening, but it’s intriguing, don’t you think?’

‘Intriguing. Yes. Very mysterious. Who is this Mr Atherton with the prodigious marrows?’

‘Ah-ha!’ she trumpeted. ‘You see? Page one and you’re already asking questions. That’s good.’

He raised an eyebrow at her choice of adjective but she didn’t appear to notice.

‘Who do you think he is? Or, more to the point: What do you think he is?’

She was losing him now. The wine wasn’t helping, unpalatably warm in the afternoon heat, a wasp buzzing forlornly around the neck of the bottle.

‘I really don’t know.’

Gloria swept the wasp aside with the back of her hand and filled her glass, topping up Adam’s as an afterthought.

‘He’s a German spy,’ she announced.

‘A German spy?’

‘That’s right. You see, it’s wartime – 1940, to be precise – and while the Battle of Britain rages in the skies above a small Hampshire village, an altogether different battle is about to unfold on the ground. As above –’

Вам будет интересно