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Random House Publishing Group, Fall 2015

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    9780812995183 Paperback / softback, Trade, , $27 CAD 9780812995190 Electronic book text, EPUB
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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date: Jul 21, 2015 Carton Quantity: 12
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Sicily
An Island at the Crossroads of History
By (author): John Julius Norwich
9780812995176 Hardcover English General Trade HISTORY / Europe / Western Jul 21, 2015
$41.00 CAD
Active 6.51 x 9.47 x 1.23 in 400 pages 1 MAP; 2 8-PP PHOTO INSERTS Random House
New York Times bestselling author of Absolute Monarchs and A History of Venice John Julius Norwich weaves the remarkable, turbulent story of Sicily—from powerful Greek city-state, to independent Emirate, Norman kingdom, Spanish outpost, and a rebel against Italian authority—into a spellbinding narrative about an island at the epicenter of history.

“Sicily,” said Goethe, “is the key to everything”. The birthplace of Archimedes, Georgio de Chirico, and Muhammad al-Idrisi, it is the largest island in the Mediterranean. The stepping-stone between Europe and Africa, the gateway between the East and the West, the link between the Latin world and the Greek, at once a stronghold, clearing-house and observation-point, it has been fought over and occupied in turn by all the great powers that have striven over the centuries to extend their dominion across the Middle Sea.

John Julius Norwich offers a vivid, erudite, page-turning account of an island and the remarkable kings, queens, and tyrants who fought to rule it. From its beginnings as a feared Greek city-state to its rise as a wealthy, multicultural trading hub during the Crusades, to its rebellion against Italian unification and the rise of the Mafia, the story of Sicily is rich with extraordinary moments and dramatic characters. Norwich outlines the surprising influence Sicily has had on world history—the Roman fascination with Greek culture dates back to their sack of Sicily—and tells the story of one of the world’s most kaleidoscopic cultures in a galvanizing, contemporary way.

Story Locale: Sicily, Italy

JOHN JULIUS NORWICH, 2nd Viscount Norwich, was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. He resigned in 1964 to become a writer, and is the author of twenty-two books.

Author Residence: London, England

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Publicity: National/local/online review print attention

“Suavely readable . . . The very model of a popular historian, [John Julius Norwich] writes to give pleasure to the common reader. And what pleasure it is. . . . Even by European standards, Sicilian history is a crazy-quilt affair, and the nearly 3,000 years of it covered by Mr. Norwich—from the founding of the first Greek colonies in the eighth century B.C. through World War II—feature a ‘Who’s Who’ of powers, dynasties and civilizations.”The Wall Street Journal

“Entertaining on every page . . . There is something ancient and sorrowful in Sicily, ‘some dark, brooding quality,’ just as captivating as its spellbinding history or its beautiful and varied landscapes, from beaches to lemon groves, pine forests to volcanoes. . . . The most amiable and freewheeling of guides, Norwich will always find time for the amusing anecdote.”The Sunday Times

“Utterly engrossing . . . written with passion about the art and architecture of this magical island, filled with gossipy tidbits and sweeping historical theories.”The Daily Beast

“Dazzling . . . Norwich is an elegantly graceful and entertaining storyteller.”Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Charming . . . richly nuanced history relayed with enormous fondness.”Kirkus Reviews

“A brisk and always-lively tour.”Open Letters Monthly

“Norwich is deeply in love with Sicily. [His] boundless affection has inspired a determined effort to understand its painful past. The result is impressionistic, as love often is.”The Times

“Sicily’s political history is full of so much turbulence it’s sometimes hard to keep track of the battles, murders and successions, but Norwich sketches personalities vividly: Emma Hamilton, for example, a glamorous former courtesan whose celebrated affair with Nelson began in Sicily; or Salvatore Giuliano, ‘Sicily’s most notorious but . . . best-loved bandit.’ Norwich calls this book his ‘valediction’ to Sicily: he does the island and the reader a generous service in providing such an amiable introduction.”The Sunday Telegraph

“Norwich tells [Sicily’s] long, sad but fascinating story with sympathy and brio.”Literary Review

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