Sicilian wax sculptor Gaetano Zumbo left his hometown of Siracusa, Italy, at age 19, amid rumors of betrayal and patricide. On the run from his past, he eventually stopped in Florence to join the Medici court at the request of the Grand Duke himself, Cosimo III, whose unreciprocated love for his wife has left him tortured—and leads him to make a strange request of the celebrated sculptor.
In Rupert Thomson's new novel, Soft!, an advertising executive's half-cocked, late-night inspiration becomes an ad-campaign with a singular, sinister design in this surreal thriller about soft drinks, stress-fried ad-men, down-on-their-luck thugs, sleep study clinics and subliminal conditioning.
Remember those scholastic-aptitude tests you took in grade school, the ones that told you what kind of career path you should follow? Those tests and their ilk take on a much more ominous significance in light of Rupert Thomson's newest novel, Divided Kingdom.