Series: Book Four, Star Cross'd Series
Genre: Historical Fiction
READ AN EXCERPT.
The long-awaited explosive fourth novel in the Star-Cross'd series! Verona has won its war with Padua, but lost its war with the stars. The young prodigy Cesco now turns his troubled brilliance to darker purposes, embracing a riotous life and challenging not only the lord of Verona and the Church, but the stars themselves. Trying desperately to salvage what's left of his spirit, for once Pietro Alaghieri welcomes the plots and intrigues of the Veronese court, hoping they will shake the young man out of his torpor. But when the first body falls, it becomes clear that this new game is deadly, one that will doom them all.
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
"The Prince's Doom" is the fourth book by David Blixt in his Star-Cross'd series. This was a long story about 700 plus pages. At first it seemed a little daunting but once I started reading I could not put it down. With the Romeo and Juliet theme. When the story begins Dandolo and Elisabetta are trying to see what the future holds. Some signs of how the story unfolds are hinted at at the beginning. Although many of the characters in this book come from Shakespeare's play the story lines are unique and interesting. Because this is a lengthy book and there are many plots and subplots, it becomes easy to confuse some of them and to connect them. However, each characters is so rich and complex Blixt quickly turns a hero into a villain and vice versa. My only complaint is that I have not read the previous stories even though "The Prince's Doom" can easily be read as a stand alone. Pietor Alghierie was a great character and very interesting. There are some things I did not expect. One was the fast cast, but still they were interesting. I especially loved that Blixt made many of the characters difficult to predict. Also, the sword fighting was unexpected yet added to the time and setting of this story. Overall, this is a great read. The story lines were craftily interwoven and the characters multilayer, complex and at times frustrating.
“What part?” asked Cesco with smiling politeness. He’d been summoned to the Domus Nova in the early morning, but arrived in his own time.
Cangrande was upon the dais, sitting in his chair of office, reading over papers as though Cesco were a petitioner the Scaliger did not have time for. “Tell me about the brawl. You look as though you’ve been dragged through a knothole.”
“I was defending a fellow knight’s honour,” answered Cesco through his puffed lip. “As any good knight should.”
“Mm.” Cangrande signed the document and picked up another. “And what was the mortal insult that caused such a rumpus?”
“The dastardly villain impugned Ser Bailardetto’s heritage, his nationality, even his race.”
“And how did he manage all that?”
“By cracking hazel-nuts at the next table over.”
Cangrande’s eyes came up from the page before him. “Say that again.”
Cesco did, relating the whole exchange.
Cangrande pursed his lips. “Interesting. By your standard, if someone beats his dog, I must challenge him for whipping my sister.”
“Only if she were a real bitch,” said Cesco.
Cangrande picked up another paper to peruse. “It is in poor taste to mock the infirm.”
“I learned my taste from you.”
“Then moderate your tastes to match mine.” Signing another document and passing it off, the Scaliger leaned forward. “You’ve caused me a problem.”
Cesco offered a crooked half-smile. “Not a serious one.”
“True, the Paduans aren’t howling for your blood. But they are upset. Carrara came to see me about it, as did your father-in-law. Both are concerned about fights breaking out between our citizens. I reminded them that dueling is outlawed in Verona.”
“That doesn’t hold for Padua,” observed Cesco.
“True,” admitted Cangrande. “And since I said I’d let them be governed by their own laws, I can’t change that fact, though I have gently suggested they amend their laws on this matter to match our own. Which still leaves me with a problem.”
“Would that be me?”
“It would.” Rising, Cangrande began to pace. “You may be the architect of this peace – no protestations, please. We both know the truth.” Cangrande glanced at Benedick and Salvatore. “Gentlemen, if you breathe a word of this to your fellow citizens I’ll hunt you down and peel the skin off your noses.”
Incongruously, Benedick bowed. “Yes, lord.” Salvatore did the same.
Looking momentarily amused, Cangrande returned to his pacing. “As I say, Ser Francesco, you may have brought all this about, but no one knows it, nor can anyone be told. If you’re picking fights with Paduans, people will think we are not united in peace, that the next generation will manhandle the city of Padua in a way distasteful to its citizens.”
“All that is perfectly true, O Capitano. But if you consider a little longer, you’ll realize I did you a service.”
“A service? Stop that!”
Cesco had been blowing his nose into his hat. He replaced it, looking unabashed. “You needed something like this. You have ordained this blessed peace, and have doubtless assured your place in Heaven with the other lambs and doves. Angels are this moment weeping tears of joy for your very being.” Bouncing on the balls of his feet, hands clasped tightly behind his back, Cesco looked as if he wanted to fall in step with the Scaliger. “But on Earth, not everyone is as rapturous. There are Veronese unthrilled with the Pax Verona. Our soldiers, for example. No booty, no women, no reward for all their years of labour. They long to see some Paduan blood spilled, even if only in a bar-brawl. You can’t do it. But your heir splitting his knuckles on a few Paduan chins will boost their morale. Thus when you give the order to besiege Treviso, they’ll march with contented hearts.”
Cangrande had ceased pacing. “Clever. If that’s why you did it.”
Cesco was all smiles and blinking eyes. “Whyever else?”
Cangrande answered question with question. “What happened between you and the lady Katerina?”
“Who is to say anything happened?”
“The room was dismantled in a way that tells me you were there. What did you and my dear sibling discuss?”
Cesco shrugged. “She showed me my stars, and I thanked her.”
“With the back of your hand?”
“Yes. My poor hand nearly broke on the granite of her chin. But she was perfectly well when I departed.”
They gazed at each other for a long moment. Finally Cangrande seemed to accept his heir’s word. Yet when he spoke, there was a dire metal in the Scaliger’s tone that made both Benedick and Salvatore step involuntarily backwards. “Did you learn anything of interest?”
Cesco ceased fidgeting to stare directly at the Scaliger. “Some doggerel about evanescence. Nothing very important. Nothing that matters.”
Benedick had no notion what they were talking about, but the way they were gazing at each other belied Cesco’s words. It clearly mattered very much.
Slowly Cangrande began to smile – not his famous allegria, something more canine. “You’re quite right. It matters not a whit. It changes nothing.”
“Nothing,” agreed Cesco.
Resuming his seat, Cangrande became brisk. “Glossing over your striking my lady sister, what you say about morale makes a fair amount of sense. But it’s an excuse invented after the fact. We both know why you picked a fight. I advise you to choose worthier targets in the future. Never strike downwards. Don’t waste time on pointless battles. Fight ones that are important.”
“And if none of them are?”
“Then find one that is.” The Scaliger picked up another document. “That will be all, Ser Francesco.”
Dismissed, Cesco turned on his heel and strolled out, the two Paduans in his wake.
Praise for David Blixt'For anyone who has yet to read David's novels, you are about to hit the literary lottery. Yes, he's that good.' --Sharon Kay Penman, The Sunne In Splendour
'David Blixt is a master of historical fiction. Dramatic, vivid, superbly researched, this series captures Renaissance Italy in all its heady glamour and lethal intrigue.' --C.W. Gortner, The Tudor Conspiracy
'This is one of the most exciting, and satisfying, reads that I have immersed myself in for a long time. David Blixt is a gem of a writer.' --Helen Hollick, The Pendragon Chronicles
The Star Cross'd SeriesBased on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, the Star-Cross'd Series is a tale of wars won, friendships lost, and conspiracies both mortal and stellar, an epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett.
Titles in the Star Cross'd SeriesBook One: Master of Verona
Book Two: Voice of the Falconer
Book Three: Fortune's Fool
Book Four: The Prince's Doom
Buy the BookAmazon
For more information please visit David Blixt's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
The Prince's Doom Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, March 16
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, March 18
Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, March 19
Excerpt at Becky on Books
Friday, March 20
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Saturday, March 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, March 23
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks
Tuesday, March 24
Guest Post & Giveaway at Griperang's Bookmarks
Wednesday, March 25
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, March 27
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Monday, March 30
Excerpt at Buried Under Books
Tuesday, March 31
Spotlight at A Book Geek
Wednesday, April 1
Excerpt & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, April 2
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Guest Post at Books and Benches
Friday, April 3
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection