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I, Iago: A Novel Paperback – April 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“[A] funny (really!) look at this disastrous Crusade through the eyes of a wacky Welshman, a pious knight and his half-brother and an Arab princess (who isn’t what she seems) they hope to return to her Egyptian home. It’s a raucous road trip set in the 13th century.” (New York Post)

“A tasty fictional stew, mixing elements of twelfth-century culture together skillfully to produce a veritable reading feast . . . .The combination of vicious politics, mysterious doings, betrayals, and double-dealing, added to a leisurely but engaging plot, will keep those pages turning.” (Booklist)

“A clever novel of courtly love . . . entertains with a flourish.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[A]ttention to detail and humor keeps the novel both exhaustive and hilarious...Nicole Galland is exceptionally well versed in the fine nuances of storytelling and illustrating the combustible nature of mixing religion, commerce and war.” (St. Petersburg Times (Florida))

“[A]t once an idiot’s guide to the tangled geopolitical landscape of 13th century and a clear and stern indictment of contemporary events...Thick with delectable historical details.” (Martha's Vineyard Times on CROSSED)

“A wallop of a first novel—entertaining and engaging.” (San Francisco Chronicle on The Fool’s Tale)

“ THE FOOL’S TALE creates a vivid 12th Century world and three unforgettable characters whose lives entwine with war and politics, and climax in an ending as haunting as it is powerful.” (William Dietrich, author of Hadrian's Wall)

“An astonishing work of imaginative empathy, buttressed by deep research and enriched by lively storytelling.” (Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author)

“This is a wonderful historical novel that proves that all people see themselves as the hero of their own lives.” (Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!)

“A convincing portrayal of a tormented, delusional man whose complacted web of deceit destroys everyone around him.” (Library Journal on I, IAGO)

“The delights of this book, lushly set in Renaissance Venice, lie in Galland’s ability to take a series of tiny mistakes, deceptions and wrong turns and roll them into a juggernaut.” (More magazine on I, IAGO)

From the Back Cover

From Nicole Galland, acclaimed author of The Fool's Tale, comes a marvelous evocation of a distant time and place . . . and a breathtaking reexamination of one of literature's classic villains

From earliest childhood, the precocious boy called Iago had inconvenient tendencies toward honesty—a failing that made him an embarrassment to his family and an outcast in the corrupt culture of glittering Renaissance Venice. Embracing military life as an antidote to the frippery of Venetian society, Iago won the love of the beautiful Emilia and the regard of Venice's revered General Othello. After years of abuse and rejection, Iago was poised to achieve everything he had ever fought for and dreamed of . . .

But a cascade of unexpected deceptions propels him on a catastrophic quest for righteous vengeance, contorting his moral compass until he has betrayed his closest friends and family, and sealed his own fate as one of the most notorious villains of all time.

Inspired by William Shakespeare's classic tragedy Othello—a timeless tale of friendship and treachery, love and jealousy—Galland's I, Iago sheds fascinating new light on a complex soul, and on the conditions and fateful events that helped to create a monster.

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062026879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062026873
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicole Galland is the author of the contemporary comic novel Stepdog, as well as five works of historical fiction: I, Iago; The Fool's Tale; Godiva; Revenge of the Rose; and Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade. She is also co-author (with Neal Stephenson et al) of the "alternative history" trilogy The Mongoliad. Nicole grew up on Martha's Vineyard, where she now writes a cheeky etiquette column for the MV Times, and is co-founder of Shakespeare for the Masses, a project that irreverently makes the Bard accessible to the Bardophobics of the world. She is married to actor Billy Meleady and owns Leuco, one of the seven great dogs of the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Dillingham VINE VOICE on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is a long tradition, stretching back to the earliest days of the modern "novel," of writers attempting to add to or revise the narrative of a favorite novel by shifting attention to a minor or secondary character from the original, re-telling the story from a different perspective. A fine and famous example is Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, which tells the earlier life of Rochester's mad wife, from Jane Eyre. Another clever one is Mary Reilly, the re-telling of the Jekyll and Hyde story from a servant woman's perspective. Occasionally, as with Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead, the same process can be applied to characters from a play.

In recent years, we have had a flood of such stories, some of them just "fan fiction"--devoted readers extending the stories of their favorite fictional characters, often on line. Others have exploited the popularity of particular writers, Jane Austen being possibly the most frequent source of novels purporting to reveal the inner secrets or truths of her minpr characters. The Bronte sisters also have provided such foundations, as has Virginia Woolf. What we hope for when we read such novels is a deepening of our understanding of the previously secondary character, or possibly a radically new understanding of the significance of the narrative, perhaps benefiting from what has been called "the Rashomon effect." And we might ask whether Nicole Galland has supplied such added values in her novel, I, Iago? I am afraid that the answer is no.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jason Golomb VINE VOICE on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"I knew to the depths of my soul that nothing I did was errant, that in the greater sense, I acted out of righteousness, however vengeful and indirect it seemed."

In Nicole Galland's wonderful, "I, Iago", Iago ponders the intricate web of deceit, defamation and lies he weaves that will culminate in an inevitable calamity of heartache, pain and bloodshed.

The reader, of course, knows what's coming. William Shakespeare's "Othello" is well known in its original form, but has also been adapted for modern audiences in film. Iago is the center point upon which all of the characters in Shakespeare's play orbit. He is the masterful manipulator. He's a debonair deceiver. He's the ultimate enigma.

Two recently released books look to shed light on this most puzzling character. What drives the manipulator of men to create a situation where his best friend, his wife, and his admired General all wind up dead?

While David Snodin's "Iago" focuses strictly on the aftermath of the events in "Othello", and attempts to unwind the character through a continuation of the story, Nicole Galland takes a more courageous approach by exploring Iago's personality from his modest upbringing in Venice right up through, and including, the well-known events as they occur on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

Galland leaps right into the heart of the enigma in the first lines of her novel: "They call me "honest Iago" from an early age, but in Venice, this is not a compliment. It is a rebuke. One does not prosper by honesty."

Gallands's smooth handling of Iago's first-person narration immediately struck me. Despite a certain expectation of awkward Renaissance-era language, Iago comes across comfortably and familiar.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Iago Sorzano, youngest and most extraneous son of a prosperous Venetian merchant, has lived as someone's pawn all his life. His father has managed his military career for family advantage. The city has made him a motto of its pretended virtues, without his permission. And his blunt honesty has made him an unwitting laughingstock. Yet he soldiers on, determined to be the right man for the right situation, because his integrity doesn't let him stop.

Nicole Galland recasts Shakespeare's most plainspoken villain as the hero of his own respective tragedy in this sequel to Othello. Far from the knave who challenges the audience to hate him, Galland's Iago is a man determined to live up to the standards others set for him. But a series of brutal reversals upset a man known for his honesty, teaching him to dissemble aggressively. And when he stands to lose everything, he embarks on his notorious campaign of vengeance.

Though more a scholar by inclination, Iago's father forces him into the military, where he proves to have unrecognized genius. This moves a formerly forgotten son to the peak of Venetian society. There he meets the two people who make him complete: Emilia, the beautiful wife who matches his constant witticisms, and Othello, the foreign general who becomes his best friend and greatest supporter. Iago appears to have every blessing a rich humanist society can afford.

But the intense military environment, and the shifting loyalties of the Senate and of factionalized Italy, test every citizen. Emotions run high, and when loyal friends make mistakes they can't take back, an honest man thinks he has no choice but to defend his honesty.
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