Written by Donna Russo Morin
Published by Kensington Books
Review by Tracey Skeine
Synopsis from the Book:
To the casual observer, Battista della Palla is an avid art collector, or perhaps a nimble thief. In reality, the cunning Italian is an agent for Francois, the King of France, for whom he procures the greatest masterpieces of the day by any means necessary. Embroiled in a power struggle with Charles V, the King of Spain, Francois resolves to rule Europe’s burgeoning cultural world. When he sets his sights on a mysterious sculpture, Battista’s search for the elusive objet d’art leads him to a captivating woman on a mission of her own. Having spent her life under the controlling eye of her protector, the Marquess of Mantua, Aurelia longs for freedom. And she finds it in Battista. Together, they embark on a journey to find the clues that will lead him to the sculpture—a venture so perilous it might have spilled from the pen of Dante himself. From the smoldering depths of Rome to a castle in the sky, the harrowing quest draws them inextricably together. But Aurelia guards a dark secret that could tear them apart—and change the course of history.
This was the first book I’ve read by Donna Russo Morin, and I’ve already downloaded her other books onto my kindle and I can’t wait to read them. Morin has everything I love about historical fiction in this book, from enriching descriptions about what life was life in 16th century Europe to romance to adventure and real life characters. I felt like I was drawn into the time period, and it’s a meaty story, long enough to give a lot of details to keep you enraptured and yet the plot never dragged and often turned in directions I didn’t expect. I liked that there was the male and female perspective in this book, something I find lacking in a lot of stories where you often only get the female point of view. There’s adventure as Battista pursues his mission, and I loved the love story between Battista and Aurelia because it’s touching. We know early on that there’s something odd about Aurelia, and in the end we discover what her secret is. The King’s Agent is a great combination of historical fiction and fantasy, and I enjoyed learning about real life characters like Michelangelo and Dante as well. As someone who loves art and took a lot of art history classes in college, I loved the focus on the artwork. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a lushly written piece of historical fiction set in the early Renaissance.
Tracey Skeine graduated with her degree in English Literature in June 2012. She is currently working on her first novel set in Caesar’s Rome.