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The Queen's Gambit (Leonardo da Vinci Mystery, #1)
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The Queen's Gambit (Leonardo da Vinci Mystery #1)

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The first book in an exciting new series featuring Leonardo da Vinci and his young apprentice.

Court Engineer Leonardo da Vinci conjures a living chess game for the Duke of Milan using his royal court as chess pieces. But when one ‘piece’ is murdered, da Vinci’s scrupulous eye for detail is needed to find the killer.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Berkley (first published 2008)
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L.  (I've Stopped Counting)
This reads like a typical police procedural murder mystery. A body is found and an older, experienced detective and his young rookie sidekick investigate. It just so happens this body is found on the Duke of Milan's palace grounds in 1483 and the investigators are the Leonardo da Vinci and his apprentice, Dino.

Truly, Leonardo acts like one of those detectives from an old black and white movie. Any minute I was expecting him to demand, "Where were you on the night of the twenty-fifth?!" as he and
#1 in the Leonardo da Vinci historical mystery series, set in 1483 Milan. Told from the point of view of one of Leonardo's apprentices, Delfina della Fazia, an eighteen year old girl who has disguised herself as a boy named Dino. Female apprentices are not allowed, and Delfina wanted nothing more than to be an artist so with her father's help, she escapes her small home village and an arranged marriage to run off to Milan seeking apprenticeship with Leonardo.

During a live chess match in which o
Kara Rae Garland
Although the first line of The Queen's Gambit is some of the purplest prose imaginable, I soon became engrossed by the story and enjoyed it very much. I can't comment much on the historical accuracy (in an afterword, the author herself comments on how she played around with the facts), but I can say it didn't evoke 13th century Milan (err, Renaissance Italy) as much as some things I have read.

Regardless of that, either because of my vivid imagination or because I've read enough to have absorbed
Dino is an apprentice to the famous Leonardo DeVinci in the court of the Duke of Milan. Dino has a secret - he is a she. She has run away to become an apprentice and pretends to be a boy because they would never let her serve as a girl. She and Leonardo discover the body of the duke's ambassador to France. Dino has to take his place in a human chess game to see if the murderer will give himself away. This begins the search for the murderer among the court's residents. This was a fair book and th ...more
Georgiana 1792
“La cosa più importante del matrimonio è portare rispetto al proprio marito e fargli credere che sia lui a comandare”, aveva proseguito con uno sbuffo che indicava la sua bassa opinione sulle capacità maschili. “Non toccare mai i suoi effetti personali e non ficcanasare nei suoi documenti, o almeno fa’ in modo che non se ne accorga. E ricorda: il fatto che tu sia più intelligente di lui non conta nulla. Il tuo compito è mostrarti remissiva, anche se può essere ruvido come uno straccio per tampon ...more
Never judge a book by its cover. How many times had I heard that before. Yet, as I grabbed this book for its diminutive size..easily carried in a purse while headed out on a vacation, I was sure I wouldn't like it. I was wrong. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book very much. It was a very pleasant read and had more depth than I expected of this novel. This is a mystery combined with historical fiction. What really grabbed my attention to begin with was the point of view this book is told from. We f ...more
Leonardo da Vinci, the epitome of the Renaissance man, turns to solving mysteries. Ludovico Sforza, the duke of Milan, asks Leonardo to organize an elaborate live chess game to settle a dispute between the duke and the French ambassador to Milan. All goes well until the duke's ambassador to France, who was playing a white bishop, is found murdered by the duke's knife.

Fearing severe political repercussions and possible threats from within the court, the paranoid duke commands Leonardo, one of th
Milano 1483.
"Una partita di scacchi viventi: è questa l'insolita soluzione scelta dal duca Ludovico Sforza, detto il Moro,e dal suo ospite, l'ambasciatore di Francia, per decidere chi si aggiudicherà il dipinto che Leonardo da Vinci, da poco nominato ingegnere di corte, ha portato con sè da Firenze. La festa però volge in tragedia quando, durante il gioco, il conte di Ferrara, che impersonava l'alfiere bianco, viene trovato morto nel cortile del castello. Sulla corte intera si stende l'ombra del
A frustrating book. The writing style really annoyed me; I felt that Stuckart was waxing faaar too poetic and purple, and irritatingly trying to cram in textbook history lessons: Bam! Here's how you do a fresco! This might be because I do know a bit about Renaissance Italy, but I was really jolted out of the narrative several times by lengthy exposition--Dino may be an innocent, but there's no need to explain that that every expletive used was 'learned from the boys in the stable.' Let the kid s ...more
Leonardo di Vinci is the court engineer to Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, in the late fifteenth century. The Duke, a.k.a. Il Moro, decides he wants to have a human chess match and Leonardo is in charge of making it happen. When one of the white bishops does not return from a break in the action, Leonardo sends his apprentices to look for him. Dino is the apprentice who finds the bishop dead in a secluded garden. And when Il Moro saddles Leonardo with the task of discovering the murderer, Le ...more
A live chess game is organized by none other than Leonardo da Vinci himself to help settle a dispute between the Duke of Milan and the French ambassador. During the intermission, the body of the Duke's cousin is found stabbed to death. With the help of Dino, the Master's young apprentice, Leonardo is charged with uncovering the perpetrator of this foul plot.
A fun historical mystery set in the prime of the Italian Renaissance in a Milanese court. The story takes on a colorful spin with the famed
I really enjoyed this novel set in Renaissance Milan. It is told by one of Leonardo da Vinci's apprentices. The characters are fairly interesting but only in a cliche kind of way. Sometimes those kinds of cliches can be irritating but I didn't find this to be the case with this novel.

It was a quick read for me. It was historically accurate and fairly simple for a mystery but entertaining nonetheless. I found myself reading the second half in one sitting. I plan on reading the remaining books in
Bella l'idea di far diventare detective un personaggio straordinario e controverso come Leonardo da Vinci, bella l'idea di ambientare un "giallo" nel senso classico del termine in pieno Rinascimento... ho trovato un po' meno bella e un po' anacronistica la conduzione dell'indagine... va bene che Leonardo era un genio, ma attribuirgli capacità da RIS o da CSI mi è sembrato un po' eccessivo... capire dalle macchie di sangue su un guanto in che modo veniva impugnata l'arma, capire se le macchie di ...more
I was surprised by how good this book was. I've never heard of Diane Stuckart before and was impressed with this twisted murder mystery. Leonardo da Vinci is in his mid 30s and is the master engineer for the Sforza family in Milan. One of his apprentices gets caught up in the mystery and they work together to solve it. The reader gets an interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci's personality during this time. Stuckart also addresses his sexual ambiguity and interprets it appropriately (she doesn't sa ...more
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Welcome to the Founder of my new bookshelf - the unfinished. In the last week I've had two conversations about how not finishing a book is fine, even good when there is SO much to read and enjoy. Sure there's something to be said for perseverance and finishing what you start and so on, but I think this applies more fitfully to ham sandwiched than books. I think there's a difference between toughing it out through a book you really want to read and putting down a book you don't like, too. So that ...more
A fairly good mystery featuring Leonardo da Vinci as one of the crime solvers, but really centers around Dino, a girl masquerading as a boy so she can study with da Vinci and escape an unwanted marriage. That aspect of the book is rather unbelievable, which is why it doesn't get a higher rating from me. The possible romance between her and da Vinci is also worthy of some eye rolling as is his invention of an automaton. The mystery itself is pretty good though.
This was a fairly good book, I enjoyed a lot of the history and some glimpses into the world of Leonardo da Vinci and his young apprentices. I must admit to not much caring about the mystery, the development of the person killed wasn't there so I never really cared. Dino, the apprentice, was a fun character so I might go back to the series to see what happens there and hope that the mystery writing gets a little better.
Leonardo da Vinci stands out as a wonderful character in this so-so mystery. The plot and main character are ok, but the setting (Renaissance Italy) and Leonardo are fantastic. I found myself surfing the 'net to find out more about da Vinci after reading this book, and am looking forward to the next in the series based on how much his character, as portrayed in this novel, intrigued me.
Disappointing for me. While the 'detective' was Leonardo da Vinci, the story was a first person narrative from his assistant, who therefore takes more of the stage. I can't say much about the assistant without it being something of a spoiler, but since it wasn't a plot device that i'm fond of, it contributed to my indifference to the book.

I am not a huge fan of the "take someone famous from history and make them a detective!" genre, but it was Leonardo da Vinci so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, despite some rich period details, this could not hold my attention and when we learn the boy apprentice has a secret, I was done.
Julie Wyatt
There were some interesting aspects to the story, namely what life was like for an apprentice during the Renaissance. There wasn't much mystery to who Dino was (mercifully that secret came out very near the beginning) and the murderer wasn't a surprise either. Good writing, just not much mystery.
It was sort of interesting at first, at least to keep me turning the pages. But I thought the mystery was kind of dumb and rambled a bit. There were no surprises and when surprises were revealed, I could have cared less. Oh well, at least it didn't take me that long to read it.
Leonardo da Vinci and one of his assistants is trying to discover who murdered the arch-bishop. Although there are some details in the story which exemplified the life at that time, it really wasn't enough. I had hoped to find out more about Leonardo than his hair color.
This was listed as the July 2009 Walters Art Museum's book club book. Based on the title, I was intrigued. Now that I've finished it? Eh. It was ok, but not great. Don't think I need to find another in the series - if there is one that is...
Jamie Clarke
I wanted so much more from this. Leonardo is interesting but Dino's secret is transparent from the outset. The mystery was basic, easy to figure out. I found reading this a chore and although I finished I was wanting the entire way through.
A great historical mystery. I look forward to the next book in the series. Leonardo DaVinci adds another skill to his legend, Crime Scene Investigator. He has the help of a young artist intern protoge. I really enjoyed it!
Read for book club. Fun perspective into the life of da Vinci, and I enjoyed the mystery as well. Surprised that there wasn't a big "revelation" at the end of the book regarding the main character's identity.
Only got about twenty pages in. Something about the main character's voice just irritates me to no end, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood, but I don't care to continue reading this.
Sicuramente non storicamente accurato, ma è una storia che mi ha presa. Mi è piaciuto soprattutto come l'autrice ha raccontato il rapporto degli apprendisti con il grande Maestro.
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ALI BRANDON Ali Brandon is the national bestselling author of DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH, her 2011 debut offering in the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. The follow-up book, A NOVEL WAY TO DIE, was published November 2012 and hit the New York Times Extended List for bestselling Mass Market paperbacks. At least four more Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries are scheduled to follow. ...more
More about Diane A.S. Stuckart...

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