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The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin
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The King's Agent (2012)

by Donna Russo Morin

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8512141,824 (3.34)1

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I really wanted to like this book. I liked the setting and the idea to use real people. I also liked the mystery that unfolded. But the author failed in one of the essential obligations of writing fiction; she didn’t make me believe it. Also, her gushing about the work of Michelangelo grew tiresome. ( )
  laverack | Jul 19, 2016 |
What went wrong? Well in a way that is easy to explain; frankly I was bored. I wanted to skim, I wanted to get it over with. I just could not connect. I did like one part of the book though..after page 300 it grew interested and there was a new mystery that caught my attention. But even if that was good in the end I just did not get one thing, which I can't tell you about.

The book was a bit heavy and it's not straight up historical fiction. It has a bit of "paranormal" in it that shows up later. Not much but there is something and truth be told as I was bored in the beginning I did not get the whole thing in the end. There is an adventure, a mystery, a hidden painting, war between France and Spain, worries in the city states of Italy, a woman that wants more from life and an art thief that is real pretty. That sums it up.

Sure it's well written but this time it was not the book for me. I wanted to like it, it had promise, but the beginning was so heavy and I just never connected (well ok at page 300 but if I did not have to review this one I would have given up before that).

It was a good story, but for me, it was a boring story. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
I received this book as a Goodreads ARC giveaway. This was a great book and I really enjoy it. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this book did not disappoint ( )
  slvoight | Mar 31, 2013 |
The King’s Agent is a historical fiction set in Renaissance Italy with a fantastic twist. The tale is filled with suspense, secret societies, hidden artifacts, romance and political intrigue. Based loosely on the life of Battista della Palla a patriotic plunder and friend to Michelangelo in the sixteenth century this tale captivated me.

The tale begins when we meet Lady Aurelia, the ward of the Marquess of Mantua. Her life is completely sheltered, guarded, and boring. She longs for adventure, to see sculptures, paintings, cities and landscapes. When Battista della Palla, a handsome thief from Florence breaks into her home she sees an opportunity for adventure. The tale that unfolds reminded me of the movie National Treasure and Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code. As Battista and Aurelia search for a hidden artifact to save Battista’s beloved Florence and aid King Francois of France they encounter secret societies, enemies, allies and an attraction to one another.

The character’s in Morin’s novel are well fleshed out and complex. Each chapter reveals more about them. I liked Aurelia and found her to be curious, brave and bright. There is an air of mystery about her, and she does some things that make you wonder whose side she is on. This added a thread of suspense throughout the novel. Battista is handsome, smart and has a fierce loyalty to the king of France. He loves Florence and is good to the men he employees. I enjoyed the way they interacted with one another. We meet Michelangelo and it was one of my favorite scenes. The author portrayed him in such an interesting light. We go inside the Vatican and hear conversations and thoughts of the current church, and its political views. Characters we meet along the way add to the adventure, from the voyeuristic couple with their wild dinner parties; to the mysterious woman Aurelia secretly meets. The relationship between Battista and Aurelia developed slowly and I enjoyed watching this tender romance unfold.

It is quite apparent that Morin did a lot of research for this novel. I loved the blending of historical fiction and fantasy. I was so impressed with how she wove The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri into the tale, allowing it to reveal clues on their quest. The quest itself was riveting, and action packed as they met danger and death at every corner. I like puzzles, conspiracy theories, secret societies and hidden relics with power and this novel delivers it all. The pace of this tale is slow at times; in part because of the details and world-building. I found myself on Goggle looking up; paintings, people and landmarks in Florence. I also dug up my copy of the Divine Comedy and re-read passages. The attention to detail, the unveiling of the countryside and the challenges within the quest make it well worth the time. I enjoyed the changing perspectives and the way Battista and Aurelia worked together to solve each piece of the quest. The ending reveals Aurelia secrets and wrapped things up nicely. The back of the book contains some interesting information from the author and in itself is worth a read. I found her reasons for the use of certain numbers touching. It is important to note that fans of The Legend of Zelda will see its influences within the quest. Sweet :)

I want to thank the author for sending me a finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
( )
  kimbacaffeinate | Mar 30, 2013 |
Battista della Palla is an art collector, or a thief, for the king of France. His job is to collect valuable paintings and sculptures for the king. He is in a mission to find a mysterious sculpture which is believed to have special powers when he meets mysterious woman named Aurelia. Aurelia has been living as a ward of Marquess of Mantua and her life has been very sheltered but she is a woman with secrets.

Before I started this book I thought this would be straight-forward historical fiction and not so much a mystery book with the quest of finding the sculpture. I haven’t read much about Italy and I enjoyed learning more about the country. The book is a take of Dante’s Inferno and video game The Legend of Zelda and I’m not familiar with either of them and I felt like I was missing way too much stuff. Battista and Aurelia travels through "Hell", "Purgatory" and "Heaven" finding clues within paintings and from Dante’s work. The stuff with Hell, Purgatory and Heaven went little too much religious side that I lost interest and I’m not good with this mystery thing anyway.

I loved seeing the relationship growing between Battista and Aurelia. Aurelia had been living very sheltered life and hadn’t know freedom and she grows so much with Battista’s crew and seeing the world. I also liked Battista’s crew and their friendship between them.

While the book was bit hard to get into at first, I still enjoyed it. I just wish I was more familiar with Dante so I could have understood more. But this made me even more curious about the author’s previous book To Serve a King which I’ve wanted to read. ( )
  Elysianfield | Mar 30, 2013 |
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