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ARTS AND WONDERS follows Tommaso Grilli, dwarf and talented art forger, from his unhappy beginnings in Renaissance Florence, via a life of crime in Prague, to the minor German Dukedom of Felsengrunde. There, as curator and (more often than not) ‘creator’ of a fantastical Library of Arts, he makes himself indispensable to the impoverished duke – with whom his own fortunes will be murderously linked.


In rich, ripe, robust prose that never cloys, Gregory Norminton's second novel is a panorama of court and corruption to stand comparison with Michael Moorcock's GLORIANA or even the TITUS books of Mervyn Peake. Norminton shares their gift for conveying unease, the hairline crack that will eventually shatter the finest marble ... Sardonic, carnal, intellectual, violent, urbane, ARTS AND WONDERS delves straight back to the origins of the novel ... classic picaresque.
Although this book takes you through a dazzling hoop-la of European cities and curious historical characters, it is the language that is most impressive and rich. Sentences are ribbed with astonishing metaphor. Research is lost in poetry and colour. Above all, Norminton had fun writing this book, expressing himself with great flamboyance and feeling for his characters and the worlds they inhabit ... It is the kind of book you walk into a bookshop to find and so often don't - it is artistic and wondrous.
Monique Roffey, Zembla