Jon's Reviews > The Malice of Fortune

The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis
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's review
Oct 01, 2012

it was ok

I had very high hopes for this book--set in early 16th century Italy, based with careful attention to detail on actual events, and involving Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci as detectives (!) solving a murder. A fascinating preface, a good map, a list of dramatis personae, and a recognition that despite the religious orthodoxy of the time, the popular belief was that that bitch the goddess Fortuna, not God, ran human affairs. What's not to like? But I gave up after about 70 pages. The story wasn't going anywhere. The dialog didn't sound like any human beings I know actually talk. The exposition was clumsy. Almost immediately, the first main character, a courtesan named Damiata is abducted by Vatican officials, bound, gagged (with a block of wood that completely dried all the saliva in her mouth), and dragged to the papal offices. There, when the block is pried out with the point of a knife, despite her tortured face muscles and dry mouth, she launches into a speech of more than 200 words, mostly telling the pope history he already knows, but which we need to learn. Realistic? Not especially. And in spite of the historical accuracy, not humanly accurate at all.
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02/08 marked as: read

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