In her latest novel, which kicks off a new series, Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper) delves into a richly imagined landscape of Italian folklore centered on Sicilian twins Emilia and Vittoria di Carlo. As goddess-descended witches, or streghe, the sisters are particularly at risk from the Malvagi, a brotherhood of demon princes. The lifelong enmity between the streghe and Malvagi means that the twins must always wear blessed amulets; when they bring them together one night as eight-year-olds, despite their Nonna’s dire warnings, they unwittingly free the seven princes from hell. After Emilia finds Vittoria’s murdered body, heart torn out, a decade later, the grief-stricken girl inadvertently summons one of the Malvagi: the Prince of Wrath. Together, the mortal enemies work to solve the murders of several streghe killed on Sicily. Lyrical writing and an immersive atmosphere accompany a well-built world rooted in 19th-century Palermo, especially evocative descriptions of food prepared in the family’s restaurant, while intriguing plot twists round off the novel. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (Oct.)
Praise for Kingdom of the Wicked:
"An intoxicating, tightly plotted feast for the senses with a dramatic cliffhanger."Kirkus Reviews
"Lyrical writing and an immersive atmosphere accompany a well-built world rooted in 19th-century Palermo, especially evocative descriptions of food prepared in the family's restaurant, while intriguing plot twists round off the novel."Publishers Weekly
"The characters are richly drawn; the worldbuilding is smart, based on historical events and infused with magic; and the page-turning plot is a force to be reckoned with. Food, family, magic, and romance are threaded into this propulsive story, making it a thrilling, wondrous, and atmospheric tale."Booklist
Praise for the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling series
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Hunting Prince Dracula
Escaping From Houdini
Capturing the Devil
*"A marvelous yet somewhat gruesome mystery...an unexpected twist makes the ending worth the wait. A must-have."
School Library Journal (*starred review*)
"Kerri Maniscalco once again combines adventure, romance, murder and Victorian manners into an intoxicating cocktail that brings the story of this tenacious young forensic scientist to a satisfying conclusion."Knoxville News Sentinel
"There are plenty of suspects and red herrings as well as tense escalations....A scenic, twisty mystery."
"Maniscalco has created a serious, sharp-minded, and forward-thinking protagonist in Audrey Rose, whose fearlessness will endear her to readers looking for an engaging historical thriller. Abundant red herrings and a dash of romance round out this gruesome but engrossing story."
"Audrey Rose Wadsworth prefers breeches to ball gowns, autopsies to afternoon tea, and scalpels to knitting needles. Though her father, Lord Edmund, has forbidden it, Audrey covertly studies forensic medicine...while "the Ripper" remains two steps ahead, lurking where Audrey least expects....Maniscalco's portrayal of scientific invention in a newly industrial era will serve as a fine first foray into Victorian classics."
"Audrey is a young woman eager to use her brains and willing to flaunt society's rules....This mystery pays homage to classics like Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein [and] will satisfy those readers looking for historical mystery, a witty heroine, and a little romance."
School Library Connection
"Audrey Rose is a witty, resourceful feminist who refuses to bow to Victorian-era gender norms. This dark, gothic landscape is peopled with nuanced, diverse characters who keep readers enthralled. A gripping mystery with a compelling heroine and just the right touch of romance."
"Every bit as heart-pounding as you'd expect it to be...An enthralling, captivating, and addicting series."
Gr 8 Up—Emilia and Vittoria are twin witches living among humans. They possess a power that they don't speak of to anyone and learn early that there are seven demon princes, four of whom should be feared: Wrath, Greed, Envy, and Pride. These demons search for souls to steal for the devil. One evening Vittoria goes missing and Emilia discovers that she has been murdered. Emilia seeks revenge and commits to finding the murderer using all of her resources, regardless of the cost. While seeking vengeance she meets Wrath, who claims to be on her side and is also looking for a serial murderer. She must learn who to trust using magic and her wits while not being discovered as a witch. The interactions among the characters build a tale of suspicion and mystery. Maniscalco's writing is graceful and leaves plenty of anticipation for the next book in the series. Taking place in Sicily, Italy, the twins and family are Sicilians—some of whom possess magic and some who do not. VERDICT Fantasy, magic, devils, a murder mystery, shapeshifters, and the beginning of a series will make this book a new favorite for many.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton H.S., Linden, MI
A vengeful Sicilian witch forges an unlikely alliance resulting in epic, supernatural consequences.
Eighteen-year-old Emilia di Carlo and her twin sister, Vittoria, have a secret: They are streghe, trained from a young age to use magic. Emilia is as introverted and romantic as her sister is bold and irreverent, but they share a love of good food and a disregard for their grandmother’s warnings about the devil and his brothers. Known as the Malvagi or Wicked, the seven princes of Hell have not been seen in years until tragedy strikes and a foray into forbidden magic accidentally summons the Prince of Wrath: Three witches—including Vittoria—are dead, and Emilia is desperate to avenge her sister and stop the killings. An uneasy truce with Wrath soon blossoms into a tantalizing, dangerous attraction with an uneven power dynamic. Rich worldbuilding constructs a post-unification Kingdom of Italy in which witches, demons, and shape-shifters live—and battle—among oblivious humans in a society strongly influenced by the Catholic brotherhood in its midst. Several significant plot points unfold in a Capuchin monastery and its eerie catacombs, and the brotherhood's conflation of witchcraft with the devil is emphasized throughout. Most characters are cued as White—Emilia and her sister have brown eyes and hair and olive skin—while the dark-haired Wicked have golden skin.
An intoxicating, tightly plotted feast for the senses with a dramatic cliffhanger. (map) (Historical fantasy. 12-18)