The Savage Garden, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (14 ratings)


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 Rubenfeld Behind 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?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780007161935

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Showing 1 - 5 of 14 reviews.

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Review by

This should have been a compelling read - the plot promised much, but somehow it failed to deliver. The characters seemed flat and the twists in the plot were too well telegraphed. Happy-ever-after ending. An average read.

Review by

The book was rather predictable and the characters were shallow and stereotypical. The hero: young and clever and attractive, the girl he falls for: extremely beautiful regardless of a scar that stretches across her forhead (yeah right!), the Italian host family: all interesting and rich and adoring the hero. And the happy end totally corny and ridiculous. Not my cup of tea.

Review by

Read this very recently, as per the recommendation of the lovely Richard and Judy :DAs far as novels from this category (i.e. from the spate of novels dealing with ancient history that have arisen post-Dan Brown) go, it's alright.The research undertaken by the author is an improvement of Dan Brown's; yet the plot "revelations" are often obvious; I felt no real affinity with any of the characters, and the sex scenes (amongst the most unromantic I think I've ever read) sounded like they may have been written by a 13-year-old schoolboy.However, it does have a certain charm, largely due to the location and period in which it is set (Tuscany and the last 1950s respectively) and the comparatively decent research undertaken by Mark Mills definitely won it brownie points for me.

Review by

Its a nice book, but strangely unsatisfying. It has echoes of The Da Vinci Code as Dante's Inferno is the key to the story of the garden. This is very interesting and has encouraged me to reread Dante, but somehow it just doesn't work, while the contemporary mystery which is intertwined throughout the story just isn't mysterious or compelling. The best I can say about this book is that it feels well researched and Mark Mills isn't a bad writer, but something went slightly wrong as it just didn't grab me the way a mystery novel should.

Review by

Strong on atmosphere as an English graduate student researches an ancient Italian garden and realises the connection to a mysterious event in the recent past of teh existing Italian family owners of the estate. Good on the slow unravelling of the artistic pointers in the garden design and how these revelations push the family to reveal the secrets of a past tragedy. Slow and spooky in places, the sense of place is strong and the characters are there to be cared about.

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