Overview: When Tony, a gifted child and brilliant video game creator, turns 17, he suffers burnout and feels like an old man. He goes to Sicily, the homeland of his deceased father, to search for his roots . An abandoned palazzo with a strange name inscribed above the door, the Circolo di Conversazione, attracts his attention. He walks in and meets the ghosts of all his ancestors going back 900 years, milling about, waiting for Judgment Day. Soon he discovers he has more in common with an English adventurer who settled in Sicily during the Napoleonic Wars than with his own father. The Englishman with whom Tony bears an uncanny resemblance was the secret lover of the Duchess of Floridia, a famous beauty (she married the King of Naples in 1814 when she was 43). The Duchess mistakes Tony for her secret lover come back to her. But is love possible with a woman who died 200 years ago? Can he take her back in his own time?
My Opinion: This is a pretty interesting story - history and romance intertwined in a fantasy setting. Its a story of one man's search for meaning - only to realize later on that the key to that understanding lies in his past - but first he must figure out the connection. Its entertaining being carried from one story to another - learning at the same time with the protagonist as facts about his past unravels before him . Its like this book is a compilation of life's drama - each chapter bringing me some kind of realization. It definitely made me hooked - as I am introduced to different characters who all have a very engaging life story to tell. The plot is never boring, and despite being truly unusual - its something believable. Its also easy to follow irregardless of the vast cast and the never-ending dialogues.
This book may seem to only tell us of the lives of the characters, one at a time. But the author filled each story with meanings - of understanding the different faces of love and sacrifices, and of realizing that what's important for one person may not be the same for another. Some may value beauty, money, honor or security above everything else. But some people live for love - and that love can stretch through centuries.
The only thing I didn't like much about this book - is that Tony is so skeptical about where he is and of what's being presented to him. I just felt like its either he is being stupid to see or proud to admit that there is something supernatural going on around him.
But overall, this for me, is definitely one of my best reads. The story is unique, enjoyable, plus its well-written.