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The Medusa Amulet by Robert Masello
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The Medusa Amulet

by Robert Masello

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Very good book involving some ancient legends of Perseus and the Medusa leading to an amulet that offers Immortality. The story is mainly broken into two distinct storylines that eventually weave themselves into eachother all at once.

In the first, present day, David Franco is a librarian at a museum in Chicago. He is tasked to find La Medusa, an amulet created by Benvenuto Cellini that offers its user immortality if operated in the correct method. In his search he meets Olivia Levy, a Jew living in Florence, Italy. Together they attemtpt to track down the missing amulet from Italy to Paris and other bits of France. A race against the clock as well because David's sister is terminally ill with cancer and supposedly finding this amulet will allow his employer the ability to save his sister's life.

In the second, 1500s Italy, Benvenuto Cellini is a great artisan on par with the likes of Raphael, Donatello, Michaelangelo etc. He writes an autobiography depicting his own battle with a medusa and creates an amulet for immortality as well as a wreath for invisibility. His muse and subject of many sculptures, Caterina, gets caught up in the immortal bit. A tragic love story as they are never together and each had to fake their deaths and start over.

The book alternates between the story of David and Olivia and that of Cellini. Cellini finds himself at the crux of many historical events and rubbing elbows with many of history's greats: Popes, Cosimo de Medici, Marie Antoinette, Adolf Hitler.

All in all, i think the story of Cellini was more interesting jsut because he was part of so much history in his years alive. The author did a great job of bringing all of the loose ends together and foreshadowing with subtlty as characters reappeared under different guises.

Personal note: The only pet peeve about the book, and a loss of a star was the use of different language throughout the book. Whenever a foreign phrase was used, its english translation was immediately after, when really the context of the story was good enough even if the reader had no basic understanding of French or German. I also noted some errors in the German both in verb placement and grammar/spelling. In one phrase the word "heib" was used when i think it was supposed to be "hot" and therefore heiss (of course replacing the double "s", does look like a capital "B" so maybe the editor thought it was a capitalization mistake and made it "b" instead.) The other noticeable issue was the use of future tense. Trying out a free translation program yielded the cause of this: I will live for a thousand years -> (in the book) Ich will tausend Jahre leben. but will is a form of wollen meaning to want/desire/will something. Proper future uses werden and should be Ich werde tausend Jahre leben. ( )
  T4NK | Sep 30, 2014 |
I actually enjoyed this book and it brought me back to a genre that I used to read voraciously, but haven't done so for a while. It did remind me of the Da Vinci Code in that it combined history, mystery, a connection to the present day, and action. But, this book did have its own personality and allure for me. In this book, David Franco, a renaissance scholar at the Newberry Library in Chicago was approached by a wealthy patron to find and return the Medusa Amulet and another artifact. Franco discovers that not only would his discovery of this artifact do wonderful things for his career, but its supposed powers could possibly help his sister who is dying from cancer. Along his journey, Franco travels to Florence and then on to Paris. Along the way, he (of course) meets a beautiful, smart woman who is able to help him with the necessary research to find the Amulet, which she knows all about and has her own agenda as well. They, of course, find attraction with one another as well. Not only is their journey full of action and adventure, but there is a lot of historical might to create a well rounded story. I enjoyed the flashbacks and the historical story of Cellini (the creator of the Amulet) and his relationship with Caterina. To me, that was a much more interesting relationship than the one between Franco and Olivia. I wish there had been more depth for the Franco/Olivia relationship, but I guess there can only be so much depth when they two just met. The ending (I won't spoil it for you) was just a bit too tidy and I had a couple of questions regarding the who and why, but over all the story was a good read. There was a lot of historical information as well as action and adventure and a little romance thrown in as well. ( )
  mlh2 | Aug 7, 2013 |
Well written and well-paced, but the plot depends on a mcguffin that only the avid fan of the supernatural will buy into. The good end happily and the bad end badly as Lady Bracknell nearly said! ( )
  NaggedMan | May 5, 2013 |
While a fairly well written book, the plot and subject line were simply so outlandish that it became silly, a farce, a parody
I would not recommend this to anyone. ( )
  labdaddy4 | Feb 24, 2012 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055380779X, Hardcover)

In this new spine-tingling thriller by Robert Masello, the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Blood and Ice, a brilliant but skeptical young scholar named David Franco embarks on a quest to recover a legendary artifact: a beautifully carved amulet that was created by Benvenuto Cellini, the master artisan of Renaissance Italy.
 
What begins as a simple investigation quickly spirals into a twisting, turning tale of suspense and intrigue, a race against time that carries Franco across continents and centuries in a desperate search for this ultimate treasure—and a work of unimaginable power . . . and menace.

Aided only by a beautiful young Florentine with a conspirator’s mind and dark secrets, Franco is soon caught up in a life-and-death struggle from which there is no escape. Relentlessly pursued by deadly assassins and demons of his own, in the end he must confront—and defeat—an evil greater than anything conjured in his worst nightmares.

Packed with breathtaking invention and breakneck adventure, The Medusa Amulet is a harrowing ride from the streets of Chicago to the châteaux of France, from the ramparts of the French Revolution to the palazzos of Rome, a story where historical fact meets with fascinating conjecture . . . and the impossible becomes terrifyingly real. Like a masterpiece from the hand of Cellini himself, The Medusa Amulet is a unique and powerful work, as inviting as it is forbidding, as ingenious as it is bold.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Dante expert David Franco tracks down the whereabouts of a mirror bearing an image of the legendary Medusa which was possibly crafted by Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini. But David will need help if he is to find the clues scattered through art and history to the mirror's current location. And there are others who have heard of the mirror's powers, and they will stop at nothing to find it.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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