Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin (Da Vinci’s Disciples 1)
A fun and adventurous story, equal parts mystery, historical fiction, and secret society thriller. Set in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Florence, it begins with the infamous assassination of Giuliano de Medici in the Duomo in April of 1478. Told through the eyes of women who secretly gather and paint—a thing forbidden women at the time—the tale follows the investigation of the plot and the suspected involvement of one of their number. Thus is the stage set for a well-researched, well-written book. I really enjoyed the scope of the novel, told through the eyes of women from all different stations, in all different circumstances of life this novel gives the reader a quite varied and detailed vision of life in Renaissance Florence in all its political, artistic, and financial realities. The characters are believable to their time while still staying relatable to a contemporary reader, and their varied perspectives keep things interesting.
I felt invested in the characters from the beginning, especially Lapaccia. While the narrative did drag from time to time, and there moments that felt like digressions rather than interesting addition to the main plot, I would still recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and mystery alike. I hope the next one is as gripping.
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 290 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
One murder ignites the powderkeg that threatens to consume the Medici’s Florence. Amidst the chaos, five women and one legendary artist weave together a plot that could bring peace, or get them all killed. Seeking to wrest power from the Medici family in 15th Century Florence, members of the Pazzi family drew their blades in a church and slew Giuliano. But Lorenzo de Medici survives, and seeks revenge on everyone involved, plunging the city into a murderous chaos that takes dozens of lives. Bodies are dragged through the streets, and no one is safe. Five women steal away to a church to ply their craft in secret. Viviana, Fiammetta, Isabetta, Natasia, and Mattea are painters, not allowed to be public with their skill, but freed from the restrictions in their lives by their art. When a sixth member of their group, Lapaccia, goes missing, and is rumored to have stolen a much sought after painting as she vanished, the women must venture out into the dangerous streets to find their friend and see her safe. They will have help from one of the most renowned painters of their era the peaceful and kind Leonardo Da Vinci. It is under his tutelage that they will flourish as artists, and with his access that they will infiltrate some of the highest, most secretive places in Florence, unraveling one conspiracy as they build another in its place. Historical fiction at its finest, Donna Russo Morin begins a series of Da Vinci’s disciples with a novel both vibrant and absorbing, perfect for the readers of Sarah Dunant.
“A riveting page-turner unlike any historical novel you’ve read, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition into the first of a trilogy by a masterful writer at the peak of her craft.” – C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and The Vatican Princess
Donna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the shore with her two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, May 11
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, May 12
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, May 17
Review at Seize the Words
Monday, May 23
Review at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, May 25
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, May 26
Review at Puddletown Reviews
Friday, May 27
Review at The True Book Addict
Monday, May 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 31
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, June 1
Review at The Book Connection
Friday, June 3
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
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