A twisted tale of love lost, alluring demons, idiotic servants, beautiful ladies, magicians, spells, pirates, and duels, Stolen from Gypsies has been called a comedic tour de force comparable to Shakespeare. The unusual hero is British nobleman Ambrogio Smythe, a rich but comical hypochondriac. Obsessed by childhood memories of Gypsies, the frail but determined Ambrogio leaves his ancestral estate in Warwickshire and makes his way to Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. Happily marooned in Tuscany, Ambrogio meets a wandering storyteller who spins him a magical yarn about a Gypsy babe kidnapped by a demon. Ambrogio buys a shred of parchment as evidence and begins to write his own florid version of the saga, vowing one day to publish it in high style.
Skillfully weaving back and forth between Ambrogio’s Italian sojourn and “The Gypsy’s Tale,” this rousing adventure is full of action and insight.