The Oracle of Cumae

The Oracle of Cumae


By Melissa Hardy

On the day she turns ninety-nine, Mariuccia Umbellino calls for a priest so that she might finally confess to someone the secrets she has been living with for seventy-five years. When she was a girl, a band of men appeared at her family’s farm in the wild Sibylline Mountains with orders from the Pope to destroy the nearby shrine of the Oracle of Cumae and to thereby end forever the practice of the Old Religion that had persisted in that region since Roman times.

Set in early nineteenth-century Italy, Mariuccia’s adventures take her from the remote mountain village of Montemonaco and the secret recesses of the Grotto of the Fates, an extensive limestone cavern guarded by lamiae and home to Sibylla, the Oracle of Apollo, to the bustling and modern manufacturing town of Casteldurante in the heart of the Italian Marches. A daring rescue is undertaken in the dark of night, things are blown up, love spells are miscast then recast, unwanted advances are made and repulsed, a downtrodden housekeeper poisons her cruel mistress, a mummy is discovered buried beneath a chapel floor, and the mysterious fate of a jettatore—a person born with the Evil Eye—is finally revealed.


About the Author

Melissa Hardy has published five novels and two collections of short stories, including Broken Road, The Uncharted Heart, and A Cry of Bees. She has won the Journey Prize and been published in numerous journals, including The Atlantic, Exile, and Descant. She lives in the village of Port Stanley, Ontario.

Product Information

  • Release: October 8, 2019

  • $19.95 Paperback

  • 256 Pages

  • 6 x 9

  • Adult Fiction

  • ISBN: 9781772601145