Release Date: 03/02/11
Venice, 1407. The city is at the height of its powers. In theory, Duke Marco commands, but Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. They seem all powerful, yet live in fear of assassins better than their own. On the night their world changes, Marco's young cousin prays in the family chapel for deliverance from a forced marriage. It is her misfortune to be alone when Mamluk pirates break in to abduct her - an act that will ultimately trigger war. Elsewhere Atilo, the Duke's chief assassin, cuts a man's throat. Hearing a noise, he turns back to find a boy drinking from the victim's wound. The speed with which the angel-faced boy dodges his dagger and scales a wall stuns Atilo. He knows then he must hunt him. Not to kill him, but because he's finally found what he thought was impossible - someone fit to be his apprentice. Award-winning author Jon Courtenay Grimwood is a master storyteller. Here, he blends history, politics and dark fantasy in a compelling vision of an alternative Venice.
Whilst this latest book by Jon Courtenay Grimwood will be cited as fantasy, I prefer to think of it as Historical Urban Fantasy as there’s a touch of the Vamp and the addition of Loup Garou’s haunting the streets of this politically charged double dealing world of ancient Venice. Whilst he’s had to be careful that the tale hasn’t gone too Assassins Creed, it’s a story that has not only been wonderfully researched but one that will thrill and enthral the reader with its use of clever prose, artfully disguised misdirection and tied up with a landscape that defies belief.
Add to this a masters touch for spinning a tale, a great understanding of pace and the reader really will have something new and evolving to keep on their shelves which makes this first title in the series a real treat and one that will be reread from time to time with as much passion as the first expedition.