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DescriptionParadise is just one step from Hell...
The chance to build a dream home on a private island in Italy’s most beautiful lake offers architect Tom Lupton the fresh start he’s been yearning for. But when he arrives with his family on Diavolino, he finds the terrified locals dead set against his arrival. The island, whose very existence has been shrouded in secrecy for half a millennium, has a dark history that no one cares to remember, and as their opposition to Tom grows, so grows a brooding evil that will lead them to the very doors of Hell…
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Excerpt:Before long, they were all back in the car with Paolo, hurtling down the serpentine road from Cortona to the main route that led back to the lake. Poggio del Lago rose in front of them; the sun glanced off the surrounding water and animated the pale stone walls of the old fortress.
A motor launch waited for them at the jetty. Paolo took the wheel and started up the engine. The diesel motor chugged away, and the vessel edged forward in a cloud of blue-gray smoke, forcing ripples across the otherwise still water.
“Are there any monsters in the lake?” asked Alice, peering intently over the edge of the boat.
“No, darling,” said Tom, “there are no monsters. Only fish.”
“And not too many of those, I gather,” said Roger. “The water is shallow, about seven meters at the most, and centuries of overfishing have done nothing for the stocks, so they say.”
Tom stood in the stern and looked back. Poggio del Lago was the highest point for many miles, surrounded by agricultural lowland. The slopes below the old walls were thick with ancient olive trees that once must have reached almost to the shoreline. At some time, they’d been cleared to make way for the scattering of buildings that scarred a landscape otherwise unchanged for generations.
As they approached Diavolino, Roger pointed out the temporary landing. Paolo slowed the engine and brought the vessel alongside, leaping onto the pontoon with the agility of an athlete, securing the boat fore and aft.
“Where did you learn to tie knots like that?” asked Tom, climbing onto the pontoon.
“My father. He was a fisherman. When I was little, I used to help him.”
“You should have a talk with Alice. She’s something of a knot expert,” said Elspeth. Alice ignored her and marched on, eyes fixed firmly on the ground.
“I thought you said something about temporary accommodation being nearly ready,” said Tom, his mind distracted by Alice’s uncharacteristic temper. He reached out to her. “Alice, please don’t—”
“Everything we do here must be within the woods.” Roger was not to be diverted. “It has to make as little visual impact as possible. Follow me.”
Tom hesitated, distracted by Paolo, who was settling himself on an upturned log with a pack of Winston One and his mobile phone.
“I’ll be here if you need me,” said Paolo with a smile.
Tom ran to catch up with Alice and took her hand. Dark veins laced the sand-rich earth. A fleshy, leafless weed formed a patchy covering over the surface. Tom had never seen such strange vegetation. The shadow of the towering canopy cast a darkness as they entered the wood, and Tom felt something astringent on the back of his neck, a creeping chill, like frozen pinpoints marching across his skin...
DiavolinoBy: Steve Emmett