The Secret Price of History
Gayle Ridinger and Paolo Pochettino
About the Author:

Gayle Ridinger was born in the United States, attended Oberlin College, and has family ties both to Italy and to the Civil War town of Gettysburg. She  teaches English and translation techniques at a university near Milan, Italy. For her  translations of modern Italian poetry, she received honorary knighthood from the President of Italy. She has also had a children's book, A STAR AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, published in five languages, including in the U.S. by Gareth Stevens.
Paolo Pochettino is a native of Milan and worked for years as an industrial manager in numerous countries. Piedmontese by origin and the descendant of a Napoleonic soldier, he has always had a deep interest in the Italian Risorgimento and the battles for liberty in his region.

THE SECRET PRICE OF HISTORY  is not the usual story of Italian-Americans retiring to Tuscany to try their hand at making wine but rather a book about Italians—some well-known and others not—who built America, as well as about the Americans who helped in the struggle for independence in Italy. It is a story where the idealism of these individuals stands out against the vulgarity and greed of our times which contributed to the general economic crisis.


THE SECRET PRICE OF HISTORY is an intriguing mix of a modern crime novel and an historical saga that explores the little-known overlapping connections between the American Civil War and the Italian RIsorgimento.

An ancient gold medallion and a treasure hunt marred by violence over the centuries are the link between a modern-day detective story concerning Angie Cebrelli, a young American TV weather girl who is wearing an old family medallion when she is shot in the arm during a Battle of Gettysburg re-enactment, and the 19th-century saga of Eleonora, a rebellious Roman woman (Angie's ancestor) and her two best friends and suitors, Sandor and Goffredo, part of the idealistic generation who fought for liberty, country, and solidarity in the Italian Risorgimento and the American Civil War.  They find the medallion after a violent face-off with French soldiers during the battle that temporarily dashes all hopes for a unified Italian Republic. The medallion is connected to an elusive treasure , a fragment of Alexander the Great’s  last treasure, which, if found, could help French Emperor Napoleon III secure his place in history. Ignorant of these connections, and desperate for money, the three friends consider having the medallion melted down, but circumstances have it otherwise. Eleonora, Goffredo, and Sandor will lose track of each other, believe each other dead, and re-find each other; they will continue their fervent fight for the cause of freedom, at the same time fleeing Napoleon III’s paid assassins.

The modern story takes place over the summer of 2008. A few days after Angie’s shooting, a photocopy of  the medallion is found on the mutilated body of Father Kevin, a priestly scholar researching Mithraism in Rome. The true expert on the medallion and treasure, however, is Kevin’s brilliant former student Damien Brandeau, currently in hiding in Italy. He  is the estranged, recluse son of the notorious U.S. housing magnate M.A. Brandeau, on the brink of bankruptcy, allied with the dangerous and powerful Vatican Bank, and determined to put his hands on the treasure by any means. Arriving in Europe, Angie joins forces with the unconventional Italian police detective, Filippo Dardanoni.  With Damien forced to flee from his father on a rampage of violence, their investigation becomes more frantic.

            Who will reach Damien first? Who will find the treasure?

            The protagonists find drama, death, and answers in Asti and its abandoned chalk mines.

            A tale full of true-life drama from the past as well as the horrors conceded in the present, THE SECRET PRICE OF HISTORY reveals how a treasure might be right under our noses without our being able to touch it.

Be sure to check out our website, www.secretpriceofhistory.com, where photos of the many fascinating real-life figures and places from the past alternate with brief passages from the novel.  

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