Friday, December 21, 2012

REVIEW: Master of Verona by David Blixt

 SynopsisRomeo & Juliet is the greatest love story ever told. And every story has a beginning. A sweeping novel of Renaissance Italy, The Master of Verona follows Pietro Alaghieri, eldest son of the poet Dante, as he’s caught up by the charisma and genius of Verona’s ruler, Cangrande della Scala. Pietro risks battles, duels, and murder to impress his new lord. At the heart of the story is an infernal plot against Cangrande’s bastard heir, and the rivalry of two friends over the affections of a girl. That rivalry will sever a friendship, divide a city, and initiate a feud that will someday produce the star-cross’d lovers.

Based on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, The Master of Verona is a novel of brutal warfare, lost friendship, and dire conspiracy, combining to create a heart-stoppingly epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett.


My Thoughts: I have had this book on my shelf for awhile now and after a glowing recommendation by Marg at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader I had every intention of pulling it off my shelf and reading it right away.  And then I didn't-which was unfortunate for me because when I did get around to reading it for this tour I ended up loving it!  I can't speak for other reviewers but I personally think it is much harder to write a review for a book that I really enjoyed than write one for a book that I liked but it maybe had a few things I didn't care for.  I kind of feel like I'm not doing my "job" as a reviewer when all I can say is it was great but this is one of those books where I guess I am going to have to live with feeling that way because there is absolutely nothing (save for the kinda smallish font size in the copy I was reading) that I didn't like about The Master of Verona.

It starts off with a bit of suspense as a mysterious figure tries to murder a helpless infant.  He is obviously in the pay of someone but who?  Next we meet the aging and now famous poet Dante Alighieri and his two sons as they arrive at the court of Francesco della Scala AKA Cangrande. Cangrande is the man thought by some to be the savior of Italy.  He is a charismatic giant of a man that other men clamor to follow and one of these men turns out to be Pietro Alighieri-eldest son of Dante who wants to escape the shadow of his famous father.  He serves Cangrande with distinction in battle and makes the acquaintance of Mariotto Montecchio and Antonio Capuletto who will soon become his best friends (Yes, that would be Montague and Capulet for you lovers of the Bard...).  These are the main players in the story which contains a little bit of everything-adventure, renaissance era politics, romance, friendships forged and lost,a  bit of mystery...  In short it is everything I like in a book! 

The writing here is absolutely wonderful.  David Blixt is an author that knows how to pull a reader in with descriptive scenes that leap right off the page, characters that are well rounded and interesting-both protagonist and villains-and a way of telling the story that makes Renaissance Italy come alive.  I missed dinner and stayed up late two nights in a row reading this book.  I recommend this for all fans of historical fiction, adventure novels, Shakespeare, basically anyone who just likes a really good story.  Don't let the size scare you because you won't be disappointed.  I will definitely be getting myself the next book-Voice of the Falconer for Christmas!

 This book is from my own personal library and was used for participation in the author's tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.


Alas, I am the last stop on the tour but if you would like to check out more reviews of Master of Verona and David's other works, view guest posts, interviews, and enter giveaways that may still be open, you can view the rest of the schedule for the tour HERE.

About the Author:

Author and playwright David Blixt's work is consistently described as "intricate," "taut," and "breathtaking." A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the Colossus series, his play Eve of Ides) to early Renaissance Italy (the Star Cross'd series, including The Master of Verona, Voice of the Falconer, and Fortune's Fool) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy Her Majesty's Will, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society said, "Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It's well worth it."

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, David describes himself as "actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order."

For more about David and his novels, visit


  1. Thank you for an amazing review.

  2. I'm reading this book now and I'm really enjoying it so far. It's everything I love in a book too!

  3. I have this one on my e-reader. It's been there for I really have to read it!