Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis

Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 416
Source: Received from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 11, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince...

When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by thecondottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Valentino’s eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, who together must struggle to decipher the killer’s taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking “science of observation” and Machiavelli with his new “science of men.” Traveling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil—and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilization. 

My Review:

I am in love with historical fiction novels and I was really in the idea that this book took place in Italy at the time of Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli. I loved philosophy in school and Machiavelli had some interesting theories, so the idea that a lot of the events in this book helped Machiavelli write his most famous work The Prince. 

Ennis did a great amount of research for this book, there is mention of how all the events did take place and the characters were at many of these places. I liked that Ennis did not manipulate history so that his story would work. I'm not a fan when authors change history around a lot to make the story work, instead Ennsi works his story around history.

What was really interesting about this book was the mix of murder, mystery, politics and a little romance added in. This book has something for everyone, and is so engrossing. I couldn't tear my eyes away. Ennis really draws out the mystery, having readers question every character and everything that happens. Everyone has something to hide and it takes time to find out what it is, though for me I found Damiata to be the most interesting character with so much on this line.

The whole book is told from first person POV, which is perfect for this book, if it was told any other way I don't think you would have gotten the same effect out of the story. Most of the novel is told by Machiavelli, with it opening up from Damiata's POV. I found that I was able to connect with Damiata better through hearing her story.

This book is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in awhile. The story jumps right in from the beginning. You definitely need a lot of time to devote to this novel, there is a lot to the story that needs to be remembered, and there is a lot that takes awhile to understand. The way the characters work to solve the murder is by using "scienza", it made the story really interesting, but hard to follow at times.

1 comment:

  1. So excited to read this book! May need to make it my next adult fiction read



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