The Curse of Pietro Houdini

S. & S. Audio. Jan. 2024. 11:23 hrs. ISBN 9781797170534. $24.99. F
Miller’s (Radio Life) latest transports listeners to the chaos of 1943 Italy. The story is narrated by a 14-year-old orphan dubbed Massimo, who, after an Allied bombing, was saved by the dynamic but mysterious artist Pietro Houdini. The two find shelter in the centuries-old Abbey of Montecassino, home to a treasure trove of art and literature. Houdini, claiming to be an art conservator from the university, has been tasked to preserve the artwork, but he has something different in mind. Houdini shares his plan to save several valuable paintings from the German occupiers, who are planning to transport the abbey’s holdings to Rome. Buoyed by Houdini’s gift for bluster and charm, a motley band of supporters assist him in planning a heist-cum-rescue amid intensified bombing and the terrifying uncertainties of war. Narrator Gabra Zackman captures the characters’ bewilderment, bombast, and courage as they navigate the tense, tragic events that follow.
VERDICT Fans of historical fiction and adventure will relish every minute of this harrowing story of courage during wartime. Recommended for fans of Joseph O’Connor’s My Father’s House.
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