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The Master of Verona (Star-Cross'd Book 1) by [Blixt, David]
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The Master of Verona (Star-Cross'd Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in Star-Cross'd (4 Book Series)
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Length: 578 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Upon the death of his elder brother in 1314, Pietro Alaghieri, 17, is thrust headlong into the post of scion to his father, the famous poet Dante, in this rollicking historical debut from Shakespearean actor Blixt. In trying to keep up with his razor-sharp father and their new patron, the scintillating and brilliant Francesco della Scalla (known as "Cangrande"), Pietro finds qualities in himself that surprise him. Cangrande may or may not be the prophesied "Greyhound" who is to cast out evil and usher in a new world under God—many seek the role. Meanwhile, Pietro's two best friends, Mariotto and Antonio, are pushed to the edge of rekindling an ancient blood feud by their joint love of a woman, which stretches Pietro's loyalties to their limits. The precipitous ending, marked with dizzying revelations by the protagonists, do nothing to mar a novel of intricate plot, taut narrative, sharp period detail and beautifully realized characters. (July)
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Intricate plotting, well-staged scenes, and colorful descriptions enhance head-spinning but lively entertainment. - Kirkus Reviews
A novel of intricate plot, taut narrative, sharp period detail and beautifully realized characters. - Publisher's Weekly
Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It's well worth it.  - Historical Novel Society
A delightful romp through the backstory of 'Romeo & Juliet.' - Chicago Sun-Times
David Blixt bursts onto the historical fiction scene with this masterful tale of adventure, love, and intrigue -- this is high adventure at its best, an epic novel filled with the breathtaking feats and evanescent beauty of the early Renaissance.  - C.W. GORTNER, The Last Queen and The Confessions Of Catherine De Medici. 

Shakespearean actor David Blixt traces the genesis of the famous feud between the Montagues and Capulets in this sharp, arresting novel that is completely impossible to put down.  - MICHELLE MORAN, Nefertiti and Madame Tussaud
Dante's Italy and the internecine, blood-feuding struggle of the dominant families of the northern city states. This story of corruption and the quest for power is as compelling as Mario Puzo's Godfather and as thrilling as any of Rafael Sabatini's historical adventures.  - PETER TREMAYNE, The Chalice Of Blood

For anyone who has not yet read one or more of David's novels, you are about to hit the literary lottery. Yes, he is that good. In his hands, history comes to bright, blazing life. " - SHARON KAY PENMAN, The Sunne In Splendour and Lionheart

Product Details

  • File Size: 5527 KB
  • Print Length: 578 pages
  • Publisher: Sordelet Ink (April 23, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,264 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Kennedy on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I started The Master of Verona, I had no intention of reading a 560 page book in three days. I had other things to do.

I read the book instead.

The book's scope of topics is as broad and intricate as a medieval tapestry; just when you think you've seen it all, Blixt draws your eye to a new detail as compelling as the last. There's Pietro, son of Dante, learning to become a knight under the shadow of his famous father. There's medieval Italian politics as vicious as anything you see on The Sopranos. There's great female characters like Antonia Alighieri and Katerina Della Scala using words as devastatingly as the men use swords. There's the historical figure of Cangrande attacking a neighboring city in a battle sequence as vivid as those you find in Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books. There's a horse race that makes a NASCAR crash look tepid and a duel that only a writer who's also a fight choreographer and swordsman himself could write. Blixt also throws in a mysterious child, assassination attempts, oracular prophecies, and a villain as curiously loathsome as one from Dickens or Dumas. All of this should collapse into an unreadable mess, but Blixt's well-honed prose, characters, and narrative line turned it instead into my favorite beach book of summer 2007. Oh, and if that weren't good enough, throughout the book, you come to empathize with the fathers of both Romeo and Juliet and watch as their friendship turns to hate. I can't wait for his next book.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished 'The Master of Verona' and I must say I've a sort of bittersweet taste in my mouth.
First things first: I am a Veronese and for us tales of Cangrande e Dante are the stories we grew up with, almost every corner of the old town is linked to them in some way, so I'm a bit sensitive about a novel featuring both of them.

I like history and I like historical novels, and I realize that novels take liberties with history to tell a good story, and The Master of Verona *is* a good story, but, there are a few things that marred my enjoyment.

The use of Italian in the novel is often awkward,for instance no one would say 'Signore Montecchio' in addressing another, it would be either 'Signor Montecchio' (rater modern-sounding) or, in the old way, 'Messer Montecchio'. It probably doesn't mean much for the average reader in English, but for someone who knows Italian this sort of repeated little mistakes is comparable to the irritation of driving over a bumpy road.

In chapter 17 (page 218 of the trade paperback ) at the beginning of the horse Palio, a rider utters, in Italian, what is defined immediately after as a 'joyful curse'. I believe Mr. Blixt was somehow misled, since what the character says is, in fact, a very strong blasphemy. I do not object to strong language when it has a reason to be there, and mr. Blixt's use of it is definitely not gratuitous, so this faux-pas (I don't think it was intentional)definitely stands out.

I like many characters in the book and I feel their relations and their development are well done, Pietro is a likeable protagonist, young Cesco is intriguing, Immanuel Ben Solomon and Gemma Donati have interesting cameos, Cangrande is the Cangrande we in Verona are proud of...up to the last 20 pages.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has it all: adventure, intrigue, drama, duels, battles, and a little sex thrown in for good measure. And the characterizations are extraordinary. If Mr. Blixt had not done such an amazing job building such complete, three-dimensional characters, it would be hard to believe that such intriguing figures as Cangrande, his sister Katerina or the fascinating Antonia Alaghieri actually existed. As a bonus, the narrative is liberally peppered with appearances by some of William Shakespeare's most famous Italian characters, and we see how the turmoil of northern Italy at the beginning of the Renaissance led to the famous feud at the heart of "Romeo and Juliet."

One aspect that I particularly enjoyed was the characters' various dispositions on astrology, which plays a central role in the novel. Given the time period, it is fascinating to watch as a culture begins to shrug off the mysticism of its past.

It is a wonder that more books don't employ the setting and characters of David Blixt's debut novel. Between the people and locales which inspired the works of William Shakespeare and the historical personages of Dante and Cangrande della Scala, I am amazed that more writers have not mined this period more thoroughly. That said, I wonder if there are very many who could do it better than "Master of Verona."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Master of Verona, e-book revision of an earlier published tale by David Blixt set in the tumultuous 1300's in Northern Italy. The action follows the attempts by Francesco `Cangrande' Della Scala, the ruler of Verona, to become the all-powerful leader known as the `Greyhound', a legendary figure he hopefully was predicted to be by astrological interpretation. Further predictions, along with the desires of others and petty, as well as more serious, ambitions offer serious intersessions with respect to his being such a person, resulting in numerous conflicts. The story follows the plots, counterplots and treacherous acts of supposedly faithful family members and assorted others. Durante `Dante' Alaghierri, the exiled poet and author of "Dante's Inferno" and his family, especially his elder son, Pietro, also are active participants in the story
The basic story, as the author admits in a lengthy epilogue and additional remarks, borrows much from Shakespeare's plots and characters as well as those from history. The author must be complimented upon the manner in which he has woven them into an intriguing tale about this period of heavy strife and has provided a plethora of historical detail. However, it is my personal opinion that the large number of characters (26 main plus 24 supporting), most also having shortened versions of their names used upon occasion as well, makes frequent return trips to the cast of characters provided an annoying necessity. Additionally, the inclusion of often large masses of historical material provides breaks in the story's flow and even makes it boring in sections. A good editing would have provided a more cohesive read, at least for me. One of the largest problems facing a historical novelist is "what to include and what to leave out".
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