Thursday, 14 March 2013

HISTORICAL CRIME REVIEW: The Malice of Fortune - Michael Ennis

Release Date: 14/03/13
Publisher: Century 


Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince...

When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Valentino’s eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, who together must struggle to decipher the killer’s taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking “science of observation” and Machiavelli with his new “science of men.” Traveling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil—and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilization.


When an author tackles a time period that a well-known franchise has covered with characters that gamers are familiar with, an author really has to do something that not only makes the reader sit up and pay attention but gives them something that is totally unique.

What Michael presents within this book is a story that fans of crime will absolutely love, there’s mystery, there’s some macabre twists and when you add to the mix not only solid research but characters that could step out and function in the modern day, really does go to show not only a unique book but something that was a pure joy to read.

Within this title, Machiavelli and Da Vinci both bring their specialities to the fore with cunning reasoning, clever lateral thinking and of course personalities that are larger than life demonstrate that these two could have been the Holmes and Watson of their day. Throw into the mix some wonderful authorly sleight of hand, great prose and solid dialogue all round makes this a book that I’m going to be recommending to quite a few crime fans.

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