Friday, May 4, 2012
Book Tour: Review of The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin
How to sum up a book such as The King's Agent with mere words? The book has all the elements of what I consider to be great fiction. Adventure, mystery, love, and mysticism. And to speak of my opinions without giving the story away will be quite a feat in itself, but I shall attempt to do it justice without revealing too much.
Set in the 16th cenury, in the twilight of the Renaissance, The King's Agent tells the story of a quest for an object of power that would be at the heart of the demise of mankind. Battista, who is loyal to his benefactor, King Francois I of France, and also to his beloved home of Florence, embarks on this quest with a clear idea of the outcome. But he is soon to learn that there is no clear outcome and the circumstances surrounding the obtaining of this object are shrouded in danger and mystery. As I was reading the sections where dangerous obstacles had to be overcome for Battista to reach his goal, my mind kept going to the Indiana Jones films. That is the kind of adventure the reader experiences in The King's Agent. Talk about a thrill!
To add to the mystery, we have the character of Aurelia who is an enigma, to be sure. Everyone who encounters her can feel that there is something different about her, but her mystery is kept secret, thankfully, until the very end. What is present in the character of Aurelia is a resolve to complete her destiny, a destiny not of her making. She is a brave woman who accepts her fate and ultimately sacrifices her own happiness for the good of all.
Finally, I must touch on the historical aspects of this book. Wonderful was the introduction of the stories of Dante and the presence of Michelangelo himself in the story. The historical detail is so well researched and interesting. I found myself on Google several times while reading, wanting right then and there to learn more about the people and places I was reading about. I must say that Ms. Morin is a talent in the historical fiction genre. I have To Serve a King is on my review pile and so I must get to reading it soon, as well as her other titles. Her books will remain a sought after commodity for my home library.
In conclusion, I must not forget the love story between Battista and Aurelia. Their love is inspiring and breathtaking. The sacrifice they have to make and their reconciliation to the fact speaks of a very true love indeed. So I leave you with a favorite passage from Dante which Battista whispers to Aurelia, " 'lady, you in whom my hope gains strength, you who, for my salvation, have allowed your footsteps to be left in Hell, in all the things that I have seen, I recognize the grace and benefit that I, depending upon your power and goodness, have received.' "
About the book:
To the casual observer, Battista della Paglia is an avid art collector, or perhaps a nimble thief. In reality, the cunning Italian is an agent for François, the King of France, for whom he procures the greatest masterpieces of the day by any means necessary. Embroiled in a power struggle with Charles V, the King of Spain, François resolves to rule Europe's burgeoning cultural world. When he sets his sights on a mysterious sculpture, Battista's search for the elusive objet d'art leads him to a captivating woman on a mission of her own. . .
Having spent her life under the controlling eye of her protector, the Marquess of Mantua, Aurelia longs for freedom. And she finds it in Battista. Together, they embark on a journey to find the clues that will lead him to the sculpture-- a venture so perilous it might have spilled from the pen of Dante himself. From the smoldering depths of Rome to a castle in the sky, the harrowing quest draws them inextricably together. But Aurelia guards a dark secret that could tear them apart--and change the course of history. . .
About the author:
Donna Russo Morin was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1958. Her writing endeavors began at age six and covered such timely topics as The Pink Pussy Cat for President and The Numbers 2 and 4 are in Love.
Traveling through adolescence on the wings of the ‘60s gave Donna a lot of grist for her writing mill. Feminism, civil rights, the Vietnam War were all a disturbing yet highly motivating muse. Donna found her voice in fiction and with the appearance of a new horror writer on the book scene, a little known author named Stephen King, she turned her pen to the gruesome and the grotesque.
After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Donna worked in marketing and advertising for large corporations and small non-profit arts organizations. When she had her children, she knew with a certainty that she needed to show them, by example, that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
In addition to writing and teaching writing, Donna has worked as a model and actor since the age of seventeen, when she did her first television commercial for Sears. Since then she has appeared in more than thirty television spots and print ads, everything from changing the oil in her car (that was acting) to modeling fur coats. She also appeared in three episodes of Showtime’s THE BROTHERHOOD, as well as in Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED.
Donna lives peacefully, close to the beautiful shoreline of Rhode Island that she loves so much, with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.
You can read my interview with Donna HERE
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