In the last years of the 17th century, Zummo arrives in Florence and receives a commission from Grand Duke Cosimo. Zummo mostly sculpts images of disease and decay, but the Grand Duke has a top secret, completely different commission for him.
The concept was intriguing, but the book never seemed to settle into what it was supposed to be. The story of the commission ends a hundred pages before the book does, nor does Zummo's work - either on the commission or on his usual subjects - ever receive enough attention to make this a book about sculpting wax. Zummo and Faustina's romance is never compelling enough to carry the book on its own. The court intrigue, although it ultimately propels what there is of a plot, doesn't actually seem to be on the page that much. The setting feels underestablished- for example, Faustina and Zummo's affair is underway well before we are told that it's dangerous for a man to be seen leaving the home of an unmarried woman. It would have given us a better understanding of the place and gotten us invested earlier in the risks they were taken if this had been revealed first.
I finished this book, but I'm not overly impressed with it.
Overall Grade: C
Secrecy will be available April 22