(Christopher Peter Grey)
Born in England. Education: Attended New School University.
Home and office—London, England. Agent—Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, LLC, 151 W. 19th St., 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10011.
Author. Has worked variously as a waiter, hotel manager, hospital porter, clothing salesman, tour operator, and rock musician.
British writer Christopher Grey drew on his love of travel and his fascination with the life of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci in his debut young-adult novel Leonardo's Shadow; or, My Astonishing Life as Leonardo da Vinci's Servant. Set in the city of Milan in 1497, the novel focuses on a young runaway named Giacomo. Accused of being a thief, the boy has found a refuge in the household of noted painter da Vinci, where he has become the painter's servant. A skilled artist with a talent for business and social betterment, da Vinci has gained the patronage of the wealthy Duke of Milan to create a painting depicting the Last Supper. Now that patronage hangs in the balance, as war with France threatens, the Duke wants the painting completed early, an upstart named Michelangelo stands ready to take over the commission, and the demands of bill collectors are making it difficult for da Vinci to complete the agreed-upon work. Giacomo's loyalty to the artist motivates him to find a way to aid his master, winning da Vinci's appreciation in return and also discovering clues to his own clouded past. Noting that Grey "cleverly" taps into "Dickensian conventions" such as an orphaned boy and a cast of famous characters, then "resettles them during the Renaissance," Booklist critic Ilene Cooper called Leonardo's Shadow an "enticing" story that is written "intelligently." In School Library Journal, Heather E. Miller deemed the book an "easily readable … novel [that] incorporates adventure and mystery with history."
In an interview for the Estella's Revenge Web log, Grey gave the following advice to young writers: "As someone who has wasted so much time not writing because of pride, fear, envy, self-loathing, melancholy, sloth, impatience, and vanity, I would say just this: put aside all your reasons for not writing and just write. A chapter, a verse, a paragraph, a line. Even a word. Every day, day in and day out. Write. Write. WRITE. Never give up. One day it will all come together."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August 1, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Leonardo's Shadow; or, My Astonishing Life as Leonardo da Vinci's Servant, p. 65.
Kliatt, September, 2006, Janis Flint-Ferguson, review of Leonardo's Shadow, p. 12.
School Library Journal, October 15, 2006, Heather E. Miller, review of Leonardo's Shadow, p. 156.
Christopher Grey Home Page,http://www.leonardosshadow.com (July 29, 2008).
Estella's Revenge Web log,http://estellabooks.blogspot.com/ (July 1, 2007), interview with Grey.