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. . .
About the Author:Donna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the shore with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.
Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at www.donnarussomorin.com; friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @DonnaRussoMorin.
Florence, Michelangelo, art, THAT COVER! What is not to like about this book at first blush? Nothing! And after reading it my initial opinion stands and then some. I don’t know about you but I am first attracted to a book’s cover and then drawn in by the synopsis; this one had me two for two.
Our hero, Battista was a real person. In this novel he is an “acquirer” for Francois I. Of art. Great art, beautiful art. And with his latest assignment – art that hasn’t been seen in a VERY long time. Francois is battling Charles V of Spain and feels that his ownership of a certain piece will ensure his superiority. Francois turns to his man Battista to find the lost art. Battista is most intrigued by the challenge and by the artwork.
Aurelia is a lovely young woman under the care of her ward. She longs for a freedom he will not allow. Suddenly Battista enters her life offering her that freedom but she holds a secret (oh it’s a good one!) that can help but it also can hurt. Will they do what is right?
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written, enthralling mix of Renaissance art, politics, the supernatural, Dante,suspense, space, romance and yes – my passion, Michelangelo. He makes an appearance and how could I not love a book where he appears. Ms. Morin develops a cast of remarkable characters drawing from both the historical and the fictional to create a world that might have been. They all seem so very REAL. The writing evokes atmosphere so very well at times I almost thought I could smell and taste the food being served. Florence is a city of sights and smells that can almost overwhelm but Ms. Morin tames it without tempering it. This is a book I will keep for another reading as it is full of so much that I love; art, Florence, Michelangelo, love.
Ms. Morin is expert at drawing out a mystery and keeping the reader turning the pages for wont of knowing what will happen next. She develops her characters slowly, chapter by chapter until you are about ready to scream – then another piece is revealed. I love a book that evokes that kind of emotion. Aurelia is a fantastic character.
So do yourself a favor and join The King’s Agent as he searches for his sculpture. You will have a heck of a good time. And learn a little something along the way.
Other books by Donna Russo Morin:
You can read my review of Portrait of a Conspiracy
You can purchase Portrait of a Conspiracy on Amazon.com