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Society of the Morning Star
When a friend is murdered and a fake Vermeer stolen, master restorer and forger Mark Burton follows the trail to Venice, where he falls under the spell of a mysterious woman and her circle of friends who live in an ancient house on the Grand Canal. There, every door and secret passageway leads Burton deeper into the secrets of the house, with its alluring women and their implacable enemies. Soon he must use all his wits and artistic skill to fulfill his unexpected destiny.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10


This novel has something for everyone: intrigue, art, sex, food, lush scenery, murder, and secretive people. Set in Venice, the story centers around Benetta Don, a rich Italian woman, an art collector, who takes in artistic roommates in her mansion, and Mark, an art restorer. Art forgery, immense parties, and mysticism are other important ingredients of the story. The author has painstakingly researched art forgery and ancient Christianity. The novel is well paced, but the ending is a bit muddy.

Date Submitted: June 12, 2016


"Irwin delivers a potent mix of murder, mystery, and mysticism in this entertaining debut thriller. ... At times fearful, exciting, and even erotic, this journey into faith and vice revels in surprises . ..."