Sunday, March 25, 2012

The King's Agent

There are books which have a special richness due to the fact that the author has traveled to the places in the story so that they later come alive in dramatic detail. The King's Agent is one such novel; historical novelist Donna Russo Morin takes readers on a journey not only through Renaissance Italy but through Dante's Divine Comedy. Written in a florid, colorful style which conjures up the sights and sounds of a world long gone, The King's Agent combines fiction with fantasy as well as art history with mysticism. Battista della Palla is the agent of François I of France, commissioned by the king to gather the most unique art treasures for the royal collection, which at times means breaking into palazzos in search of legendary statues and paintings. During one heist he meets an unusual young lady, sheltered and naive but well-versed in art and Dante. Lady Aurelia, as she is called, becomes Battista's guide in search of a rare three-paneled icon which he must find for his master. With the Divina Commedia holding the key to the quest, Aurelia becomes Battista's Beatrice, leading him through many puzzles and ordeals towards their goal. As the goal becomes more attainable, Aurelia becomes less so, even after she has surrendered her virtue to him. Battista, realizing that she is more of an enigma than ever, wonders if she can ever be his.

This sumptuous novel features famous Renaissance art works and artists such as Michelangelo and his David. The author paints a portrait of the age with its political factions and invading kings, along with lavish banquets and boisterous feast days. Now all has passed but the great works of art remain, speaking to us of pain, joy, sorrow, sin, redemption and holiness, pointing the way to riches which cannot be seen or possessed on this earth.

Here is an article by Donna Russo Morin about her travels and discoveries in Italy. She writes about Florence, HERE.

(*NOTE: The King's Agent was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.)



Theophilus said...

Your blog is excellent, I have it on my list of favorite blogs. I would like to ask you about something. I have read about the French Revolution but not much and in depth. I was wandering where the money came from in order to pay all those "enragés" that menaced and killed the opponents of the Revolution on the streets; was it from the bourgeoisie or the nobility? Have you read something about this? I would very much like to know. It would enlighten many things that are showed as "spontaneous" movements by the people of that age.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for your praise! To answer your question, persons such as the Duke of Orleans had enough money to buy an insurrection.

Gio said...

What a wonderful review! It made me really curious to read the book. I'm definitely gonna add it to my to-read pile.