Friday, January 18, 2013

Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis

If you are a fan of historical mysteries, you will love Malice of Fortune.  It is set in 16th century Italy against a backdrop of political intrigue and war.

Pope Alexander's son, Juan has been assassinated and the pope, one of the infamous Borgias, is holding the son of Damiata hostage.  To get him back, Damiata must solve the mystery of Juan's murder.  For assistance, she has none other than Niccolo Machiavelli who is in the process of pondering why men do what they do and Leonardo Da Vinci who is taking detailed observation to dizzying new heights.

One of the things that makes this book so intriguing is that it is based on historical fact.  The records show that the main characters were where the book puts them and doing the things the book shows.  Machiavelli was a minor diplomat involve peripherally in sensitive negotiations and Da Vinci was a military engineer working for the charismatic Duke Valentino, Cesare Borgia who is the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander.

This is a complex and well written book rich in both historical background and strong character development.  On top of that, it puts a new spin on The Prince, written later by Machavelli.

This is a great book for a cold winter's evening!

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