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To Deborah Swift
Winner Of The Millennium Book Award 2022

2022 Book Award Winner Deborah Swift1

Thematically rich, absorbing, compelling, and emotionally penetrating, The Poison Keeper finds Swift recreating the particulars of time, space and social divide in early 17th century Naples.

There’s a certain sense of scale that’s inevitable in novels like The Poison Keeper and on this level, it’s easy to embrace Swift’s historically creative fiction as she brings Giulia Tofana to life. Shadowed by the  fascinating and tragic backstory of her mother and pitted against the cruel and oppressive de Verdi brothers in their relentless quests for wealth and power, Swift brings Giulia into sharp focus as a living, breathing human being with flaws, foibles, passions, intelligence and warm affections.

It’s through her that Swift reminds us things are ‘not always as black and white as they seem’ and asks us to consider the different reasons we might  sometimes find ourselves walking the fine line between right and wrong — driven by self-preservation, fear or revenge — to better understand its corrosive effects. This, leaving her readers to feel fully imbued in the bizarre and challenging life of early 17th-century Naples where women turned to murder because they had no other options.

Beautifully written, sophisticated and emotionally charged The Poison Keeper is superbly entertaining and unreservedly recommended to discerning fans of historical fiction.

The 2022 Millennium Book Award Long Listed Authors

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