The Heartless Ones is an historical thriller set on a 12th century Genoese galley heading for the North seas in search of the true relic, the hexagonal emerald basin that contained the blood of Christ. But Guglielmo Capo di Martello, captain of the Grifona, has to deal with a worse enemy than stormy seas or the pirates: a murderer is killing every night of the new moon, ripping the hearts from the victims’ breasts. Terror and superstition spread on the ship but the investigations of the captain and his scribe, Oberto da Noli, do not turn up any leads. The ship seems cursed, but the story of the aristocratic and brave Giannetta Centurione, promised in marriage to Corradino Fieschi, the son of a powerful family that her father wishes to be connected to, will provide the unexpected key to solving the dramatic mystery of the galley.
“Giuseppe Conte is first and foremost a poet, and he stores this knowledge deep within his verse, Rainer Maria Rilke included. However Conte is also a generous narrator, falling somewhere between Richard Ford and Victor Hugo; he is also the Italian translator of D.H. Lawrence. Conte has always been a traveller with a strong curiosity for Eastern cultures and especially Islam.” – Mario Baudino, “Il Libraio”
Giuseppe Conte (Imperia, 1945) is a writer, poet and essayist. Editor of poetry for Guanda, he has written for the major newspapers and magazines. Among his novels are Il terzo ufficiale (Premio Hemingway; translated into French), La casa delle onde (2005 Premio Strega finalist; translated into French), L’adultera (2009 Premio Manzoni for best historical novel; translated into French), and Il male veniva dal mare (2013). For Giunti Editore he has written Sesso e apocalisse a Istanbul (2018). Conte is also a translator of W. Blake, P.B. Shelley, W. Whitman and D.H. Lawrence.