ARTS AND WONDERS spans a glorious canvas, peopled by werewolves, thieves, emperors, travelling players and a forger dwarf who takes a lifetime to learn the danger of illusions.
Tomasso Grilli, a dwarf gifted with an extraordinary capacity for artistic forgery (and flexible morals) recounts the story of his life, from his base beginnings in Florence, through his apprenticeship to the painter Arcimboldo, to his life of crime in Prague and subsequent banishment, to the gilded fame he finds as 'librarian' and collector to the court of an impoverished, ignorant ruler in the German Dukedom of Felsungrunde.
Grilli's ambition and dubious skills take him to the pinnacle of success only for it to collapse beneath him like the illusion it always was. Betrayed and reviled he leaves Felsungrunde, is forced to join a group of travelling players, and finally learns the value of friendship. loyalty and honesty. The extraordinary cast of characters (some based on real historical figures) includes werewolves, an occult alchemist, a bear, a dodo, a lion and a maker of mechanical dolls.