This is not a novel of manners. It is not a historical novel. It is a powerful narrative action. If in the game of chess the ultimate goal is to capture the king, the operative mode and the pursuit of this strategic option force the silence and darkness of history, to face the mystery of a “shadow,” to penetrate the many masks of a face that one can think but not know, to capture the contrived personality of a protagonist of real events who with infamous talent evolves on himself and under multiple names transforms himself; here Camilleri plays chess with the imponderable. His character’s paths multiply, blur, interchange with one another. They start from the giudecca of Caltabellotta, Sicily, and along the fifteenth century […]. The reader does what he can to catch his breath. One page pulls the other, swirling. Amid various warnings of danger and horror, the novel’s protagonist unleashes twisted intelligence, cruelty and ruthlessness.