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December 08 , 2008

The Witch of Napoli


Amazon Top 100 paid bestseller. Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, seductive, medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra’s mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know – does the “Queen of Spirits” really have supernatural powers? Nigel Huxley is convinced she’s simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England’s Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. Meanwhile, the Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe. Inspired by the true-life story of controversial Italian medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918), The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter,19th-century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife, while earning praise from Kirkus Reviews as an "enchanting and graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page." In March 2015, The Witch of Napoli" became an Amazon Top 100 paid bestseller. It is also a 2015 BRAG Medallion Award winner in Historical Fiction. Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and co-author of The Gift: ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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