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The Medusa Amulet: A Novel Hardcover – April 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055380779X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807790
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Some mysterious people want to get their hands on an ancient mirror, La Medusa, that is rumored to have mystical powers. Some other people (equally mysterious but apparently quite evil, too) will do anything, up to and including murder, to keep the mirror�s whereabouts a secret. In the middle stands David Franco, a young art historian, who is going to risk his own life�although he doesn�t know that right away�to find the mirror. Blood and Ice (2009), the author�s previous novel, was a rousing action-horror adventure. This book is rather less rousing, due to its slower pace and more familiar ancient-conspiracy theme (and the frequent exposition-clogged narrative passages). It�s a good book, though, with a solid story and a likable protagonist, but it feels overlong. A little judicious pruning might have turned it from a good book to a great one, but devout fans of conspiracy-themed thrillers should find it to their liking. --David Pitt

Review

Praise for The Medusa Amulet

“A bookish librarian encounters danger and intrigue when he sets out in search of a lost Renaissance masterpiece rumored to possess strange powers…While the post-Da Vinci Code bookstore and/or library is bursting with novels about ancient secrets imbedded in renaissance art, this book is a few notches better than most, thanks to its crisp prose and drum-tight plotting. In addition to its taut story, there is an impressive amount of scholarship, and enough detail to please art lovers or history buffs.  Great writing and rich detail combine for a gripping read.” — Kirkus (Starred review)
 
 
“Masello’s latest thriller is an engrossing and fun read. While similar in content to the novels of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and historical detail to Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, this work adds a supernatural twist. Recommended for those who like to delve into the past.” — Library Journal


Praise for Robert Masello and Blood and Ice

 
“[This is] what would happen if H. G. Wells, Stephenie Meyer, and Michael Crichton co-wrote a suspense novel.”—USA Today
 

“Will chill you to the bone.”—Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Love You More
 
“A spectacular thriller, an epic adventure . . . I’ve never finished a book faster.”—Richard Doetsch, author of The 13th Hour
 
“Stylishly written . . . a tale of devotion and sacrifice and survival against astronomical odds.” —Booklist (starred review)
 
“Masello is a true master at blending cutting-edge science, historical intrigue, and riveting thrills.”—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Doomsday Key

“The ingredients of vampirism, doomed romance and Antarctic adventure are too seductive to resist. Masello has written a winner, made for Hollywood.” —The Times (London)
 
“Gripping . . . This big meaty supernatural thriller . . . spans centuries and continents from Victorian England and the Crimean War to modern America and Antarctica.”—The Guardian (U.K.)

More About the Author

Robert Masello is an award-winning journalist, television writer, and the bestselling author of many books, most recently the supernatural thriller The Medusa Amulet, published by Bantam/Random House in both hardcover and mass market editions.

His next novel, The Romanov Cross, is coming out from the same publisher in the spring of 2013.

Blood and Ice (2009), an epic adventure that traveled from the Crimean War to a present-day Antarctic research station, was translated into nine languages, and in a rave review USA Today proclaimed, "It's what would happen if H.G. Wells, Stephenie Meyer and Michael Crichton co-wrote a suspense novel!"

Earlier works, first published by Simon and Schuster and Penguin, have recently been reissued as e-books by Premier Digital Publishing. These include the novels entitled The Spirit Wood, Black Horizon, and Private Demons, and two nonfiction studies of the occult, Fallen Angels and Spirits of the Dark, and its companion volume Raising Hell: A Concise History of the Black Arts and Those Who Dared to Practice Them.

His novel Vigil, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list in 2005, and was followed by the sequel, Bestiary, in 2006.

His articles, essays and reviews have appeared often in such publications as New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, Town and Country, Travel and Leisure, The Washington Post, Elle, People, Parade, and The Wilson Quarterly. His nonfiction book, Robert's Rules of Writing (a Los Angeles Times bestseller) has been adopted in many high school and college classrooms, and his guide to the television industry -- A Friend in the Business: Honest Advice for Anyone Trying to Break Into Television Writing -- continues to explain the intricacies of the TV field to newcomers. Writer Tells All: Insider Secrets to Getting Your Book Published (Owl/Holt) performs the same function for aspiring authors everywhere.

Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, Masello studied writing under the noted authors Robert Stone and Geoffrey Wolff at Princeton, and after graduation moved to New York City, where he worked on staff at Esquire and GQ before embarking on his solo writing career. In 1991, he relocated to California where he wrote for television programs airing on the CBS, FOX, Showtime and Syfy channels. His produced credits include such popular shows as "Charmed," "Sliders," "Poltergeist," and "Early Edition." For six years, he also served as the Visiting Lecturer in Literature at Claremont McKenna College. A longstanding member of the Writers Guild of America West, he now lives and works a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, with his black lab, Becky.

Customer Reviews

The book was fast paced, engaging and a great read.
Blessed
This was a very enjoyable book, with well developed characters and two interesting, intertwined story lines.
Thomas M. Boumil
The ending and the identity of the mysterious villain was very predictable but not unsatisfactory.
Lieder Madchen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ellen ny on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Great characters, terrific pacing, and a riveting plot make this a page-turner in the very best sense. The story charges between past and present, with the time periods cleverly connected through the mysterious amulet. Historical anecdotes and art history are smart background to a novel that moves forward at breakneck speed. The author has a light touch with supernatural elements, making them integral to the story without ever feeling forced. The novel is grounded in facts about the artist Cellini and the author's deep knowledge and intelligence shine through at every turn. The hero David Franco is compelling and his emotions seem real, making this a great read for everyone. Masello has become one of the very best writers in this genre. Can't wait for his next.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In Chicago Dante scholar David Franco knows his beloved sister Sarah is dying from breast cancer. He would do anything even give up his soul like Marlowe's Dr. Faustus to save her life.

Kathryn Van Owen is a contributor to the Newberry Library where David works. She asks him to search for a reflecting glass created by the renowned Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini. The mirror is said to contain an image of Medusa. If he succeeds, he will be promoted; but more important is the million dollar reward that he can use to pay for Sarah's treatment. He follows clues that lead from Florence and Paris. Tour guide scholar Olivia Levi assists him on his quest while assassins try to prevent him from achieving his mission.

The Medusa Amulet is an exciting fast-paced thriller in which the scholar faces death seemingly on every other page, which appears over the top of the Willis Tower (unless he is the cook in Steven Seagal's Under Siege). Although the romantic subplot feels more like a forced requirement, a desperate David risks his life to gain the mirror to save Sarah; fans will enjoy joining him on his action-packed misadventures.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Blessed on April 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was initially skeptical about this book after reading the prologue but after 2 chapters I was hooked. The book was fast paced, engaging and a great read. It breaks away from the run of the mill Da Vinci Code-esque historical thrillers. Highly recommend it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Goldberg on May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A fun, grounded, supernatural, revisionist history story which takes place present day and during the renaissance. Great characters, solid tension, and fun action set pieces. Read this over a weekend and dug.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mariffin on May 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While the premise of the story is rather far fetched, the writing made it easy to suspend your disbelief. Maybe it isn;t so unbelieveable after all? A great read, fun, and a page turner. Pick it up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Boumil on April 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Medusa Amulet was the first Masello book I've read, but it won't be the last.

This was a very enjoyable book, with well developed characters and two interesting, intertwined story lines. Masello weaves together the present day story of David Franco, who is searching for a previously unknown work of art, the Medusa Amulet, created by renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini. His motivation is both money and more importantly, a possible reprieve for his terminally ill sister. The book also traces the story of Cellini, how he created the amulet, and the amulets affect on his life and those closest to him. Obviously, much of the Cellini portion of the story is the authors creation, but enough is based in real history that the fiction becomes believable (mostly).

All in all, a very good book...well worth the price and the time!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda on December 6, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Upon picking this up, I was perhaps just expecting another DaVinci code copy. How wrong I was, this was actually an urban fantasy novella with believable and likeable characters, some unexpected twists, creative use of some old clichés (like invisibility magic) and a few bad guys with a conscience - or at least a doubth in if they were doing the right thing or not.

This story spans over centuries, including the Frensh Revolution and WWII, but focusing on today, and a struggling scolar of arts who gets an offer he cannot refuse, sets off to Europe to find this book's Elven Ring, a magic mirror with a picture of the gorgon Medusa on its back end. Naturally this quite unwilling hero David Franco gets himself a female side kick, becomes annoyed with her and then falls for her. Here the bad guys are more ragged and less organized than usually, and the charming and mysterious Benvenuto Cellini are really an interesting aquaintance. And so is his mystery muse Catherina / Katrine. And then there's the stranger in the lost castle, a Blofield, who's real identity was quite a surprise.

Thís book provides with a nice mix of action and mystery, a side story with a sister dying in cancer, which actually does not become too melodramatic (which those stories often do otherwise) and even some funny twists.

The only thing that pulled down the rating was the fact that I'm so over Nazis by now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Evie on October 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I loved Robert Masello's previous book, Blood and Ice, so I bought The Medusa Amulet the day it was released; I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it. The premise is right up my alley: history blended with a touch of the supernatural.

In 16th century Italy, artist Benvenuto Cellini creates a looking glass with water from a gorgon pool hidden behind the mirror granting immortality to anyone that gazes into it. Powerful, mysterious people would do anything to acquire it. The story is told in third person giving multiple character's points of view, and the time frame alternates between skipping through history to present day until the story converges at the finale.

The book is filled with lavish descriptions of Renaissance art and history, and since it's told in third person (in this case, somewhat distancing), it felt like an unnecessary data dump at the expense of character development. I couldn't connect with any of the characters.

Immediately I felt manipulated by the contrived plot: A mysterious woman asks David Franco to look for an amulet that he's not sure even exists, but ultimately he accepts the job with the hope of saving his sister who is dying of breast cancer. Readers are told they're close, but I just didn't feel it. As soon as Franco lands in Italy, he encounters a beautiful experienced scholar working as a tour guide that agrees to help him. Too. easy.

In chapter twenty-four there is a battle between two dark arts practitioners at a private gathering at Marie Antoinette's home. This was masterfully written, and I got my hopes up for the rest of the book, but the finale, the big reveal, was anti-climatic, once again because it was far too easy for the characters to pull off.

As it turns out, this book really wasn't for me.
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