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The Master of Verona

(Star-Cross'd #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  379 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
In 1314, the exiled, now infamous poet Dante and his two sons, 17 year-old Pietro Alagheiri and his younger brother Jacopo, travel to Verona at the invitation of it's leader, the legendary Francesco 'Cangrande' della Scalla. Almost immediately, a sneak attack leads Pietro into his first battle.
Hardcover, 569 pages
Published July 24th 2007 by St. Martin's Press
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A few pages into Master of Verona one of the two characters who opens the book jumps out of the path of an oncoming horde, off a bridge and feet first into a river. That's pretty much how that first chapter runs for the reader, as well - straight into it, and swept off with the current.

And the action never really lets up. Before long, the main point of view settles firmly behind the eyes of Pietro, eldest son (eldest surviving, that is) of Dante Alaghieri. (Alaghieri, the poet insists, not Aligh
Lyn (Readinghearts)
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those fascinated by the stories of Royalty, Italy, and historical fiction of political europe
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Netgalley
The Master of Verona is the type of book that is right up my alley. I love historical fiction, especially stories about royalty and political intrigue in Medieval times. So it is no wonder that I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. David Blixt's story tells the tale of Pietro, the son of Dante Alighieri of Inferno fame, Canagrande Della Scala, the ruler of Verona, and even the beginnings of the Montague/Capulet feud. This book is filled with fascinating characters. Along with the many interest ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This novel was quite the old-fashioned swashbuckler; I enjoyed this romp very much. Taking place at the juncture of the Italian Middle Ages/Renaissance, this was the Age of Dante. The 'Master of Verona' is an Italian nobleman/warrior/hero of that period with the nickname, Cangrande. The protagonist is Pietro Alighieri [called Alaghieri in the novel], the oldest living son of the poet. Dante has been exiled from his native Florence and is now living in Verona. This is the Veronese pronunciation o ...more
Viviane Crystal
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Pietro Alaghieri (Palio) is 17 years old at the opening of this novel and definitely a boy constantly being corrected by his father, the famous poet Dante who wrote "The Inferno." But Palio will soon prove himself as a man as he inadvertently becomes involved in a battle led by "Cangrande" or Francesco della Scalla. Palio is wounded and remains lame in one leg. That, however, does not daunt Palio as he continues to repeatedly prove his fierce bravery and loyalty.

Sounds like a simple plot, right?
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Pietro Alaghieri travels with his exiled father, Dante Alighieri, to Verona to meet the poet's new patron, Francesco "Cangrande" Della Scalla. Cangrande is rumored to be Il Vetro or the Greyhound, a man prophesied about to turn Italy on her head. Pietro, with his two new best friends, Romeo Mariotto Montecchio and Antonio Capulleto, ride out with Cangrande to battle Padua. Pietro saves Cangrande's life and becomes his right hand man and confidante. Following Cangrande on a secret mission to brin ...more
Melisende d'Outremer
Being already familiar with the story of Cangrande della Scala, I was keen to read this version of his life. So far, my interest has been maintained and I have not been at all disappointed with David's re-creation of this fascinating and turbulent period in Italian history.

For those familiar with Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", here is the chance to read an interpretation of the "history" behind the play, and meet the real-life characters who inspired the Bard to put pen to paper.

But do not be
At 1:00am this morning, when I finally finished the last chapter of this book, I stayed awake for another two hours trying to figure out what to say about this book. Amazing, thrilling, suspenseful, complex, confusing, exhilerating, beautiful are all words I would use to describe it. No one is exactly what they seem and you can tell that more "peeling of the onions" are to come. I don't know how Blixt could possibly surpass my expectations now-he has set the bar extremely high. All I can say is ...more
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I like historic novels but had not read anything from this region before. I found it very engaging and enjoyable, so much so I read the next two in the series as well. I wasn't sure about the whole Shakespeare angle but have come to like it, interesting approach.
Robin Levin
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
David Blixt is a Shakespearian actor, playwright and author. I have never seen any of his plays, but if his novel, The Master of Verona, is any indication of his literary abilities, I would wager that his plays give the Bard of Avon a run for his money.
The Lord of Verona is enthralling from beginning to end. The Lord of Verona, was called by many names, Francesco Della Scala, Cangrande (Big Dog), the Scaliger, Il Capitano, and by some, Il Veltro-the Greyhound. Those who have seen Shakespeare’s R
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
My Northern Italian roots cried out for me to read this! Anything that’s historical and related to my favourite “V”-places (Venice, Vicenza, Verona) will immediately grab my attention. But…can that hold my attention for more than 500 pages? For MASTER OF VERONA, by David Blixt, I say YES- YES ABSOLUTELY!!! As a matter of fact, I’m already almost done reading the sequel (more on that one coming soon!).

Picture an epic-size story that includes poet-author, Dante Alighieri (The Inferno) and his son
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a rip-roaring book this is! This is the first book by David Blixt I have read, but it won't be the last.
"The Master of Verona", set in early 14th century northern Italy, is a tale of adventure, war, intrigue, and love. Historical figures such as Dante and Francesco della Scala are interwoven with fictional, including prototypes for Romeo and Juliet. We are swept into the ongoing war between Verona and Padua for control of the smaller cities between them. The grandest of the military leader
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone weaned on Ivanhoe or Errol Flynn.
Enjoyed it immensely. After a lifetime of reading about Norman-English knights starting with Ivanhoe/ Walter Scott/ Pyle's Illustrated Arthurian stuff and the recent spate of crusader- Templar books, I'm scratching my head wondering why no one did this sooner and delighted to read a richly detailed story told from an Italian City State perspective.

And with Dante Aligheri and his son as central characters I can picture the countryside since, about 8 years ago, we met Serego Alighieri (Count for
Scott Kennedy
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Bernard Cornwell, Dorothy Dunnett, Patrick O'Brian or Shakespeare
Shelves: favorites
When I started The Master of Verona, I had no intention of reading a 560 page book in three days. I had other things to do.

I read the book instead.

The book's scope of topics is as broad and intricate as a medieval tapestry; just when you think you've seen it all, Blixt draws your eye to a new detail as compelling as the last. There's Pietro, son of Dante, learning to become a knight under the shadow of his famous father. There's medieval Italian politics as vicious as anything you see on The S
C C Cedras
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is my second David Blixt novel and it is nearly impossible to believe this was his debut. It is a jam-packed, thrilling, riveting and heart-wrenching novel chock o'block full of historical and dramatic detail and allusions. Many reviewers have talked about the theoretical approach to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet tragic feud and, while that is both fun and intriguing to follow through the novel, I was completely enthralled by Pietro (Dante's heir and the lead protagonist), his honor, unbel ...more
Louise Leetch
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A real rip roaring book. Almost impossible to put down. You wouldn't think a story set in 14th century Verona could be that exciting but this one sure is. The author says it's a story with roots in Romeo & Juliet. You'll find a thread of R&J for sure and there are references to MacBeth, Taming of the Shrew and I'm not sure how many others. I expected a great deal more about Dante but he's really only a player in this tale of Italian rivalries. It's much more about his son, Pietro Alighie ...more
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a book this much. I'm a very big Rafael Sabatini fan. I'm an amateur student of the Italian Renaissance and of military history and of swordsmanship. I adore Shakespeare. I have been an actor and a theatrical fight director. David Blixt is all of those things, too. This is a book written by a guy like me for guys like me. I frankly admit this is a biased review.
Seriously, this book is like a Sabatini plot written by a Hollywood screenwriter. And it is stuffed
Sara Giacalone
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book - it was a nice change from my usual English and French focused historical fiction. I especially liked the focus on Dante, Verona in the 14th century, Shakespeare references(specifically Romeo & Juliet) and mysterious power machinations of the de Scala court. I felt the writing was almost Dorothy Dunnett-like (my highest form of praise), especially in regarding to the power struggles behind the scenes, the detailed descriptions of battles and duels, and in the exqu ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, action, historical
I wasn't sure until the very end if I liked it or not. While I am an self-proclaimed avid historical fiction reader, I'm saddened to say this era of Italy's history isn't my immediate go to. I wasn't familiar with the political struggles or geography, which made getting into the plot more difficult than most. But, since they were my issues and not the author's, I pushed onward. I thoroughly enjoy Shakespeare, and while R&J is my least favourite of his plays, it was very interesting to see ho ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
This was a good read. The story is quite interesting (don't get distracted by the Romeo & Juliette hype you might hear of elsewhere - it's not that pathetic) and at times gripping. I bought it because of the Dante connection and wasn't disappointed. It is a clever book about intrigue and political machinations in that era just prior to the Renaissance. The real hero, the master of Verona, is larger than life (and, it turns out, the real character was also!) and could easily have been one of ...more
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I had a hard time putting it down. This book has action, intrigue, twists, turns and Blixt is an excellent writer. Pietro (Dante's son) is a wonderful character and Blixt also brings in Shakespearean storylines (Romeo and Juliet, among others) with their own twist. There was never a point that I felt the momentum of the novel slowed down. I didn't have any trouble keeping the characters straight. You don't need to know much about Dante or Shakespeare to enjoy the book, although you'll recognize ...more
Danielle Place
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. I happened upon it because it was free and I am so glad that I did. What an amazing story. David Blixt has a gift for mixing, history, fantasy, and Shakespeare. It is impossible not to find yourself completely involved with the characters and what is going on with their lives. Have you ever wondered how the feud between Romeo and Juliette's families started? Well sit down and buckle up for a wild ride, and keep your emotions guarded because Blixt is a master at making you ...more
Virginia King
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a long time! If you like Dorothy Dunnett read David Blixt!
Faith Justice
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
This one started slow for me--mainly because Blixt introduced a large number of characters with complicated Italian names, all at once. When I gave up and kept track of characters through context, I moved much more quickly. (This is my problem--Blixt is writing about mostly historical figures and has to use their names.) As you can see by my rating, I very much enjoyed this book, which is the first in his Star-Crossed series. The author builds a complex world with complicated characters, lots of ...more
Patty Nolan
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
History class was never this much fun.

Reading this novel is like watching a 14th Century tapestry come to life, only to have it pull you inside. The Shakespearean themes, the biographical details about Dante, and the creation of a worthy hero in Ser Pietro all make this a delightful and compelling read.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars

The Master of Verona, the first novel in David's Blixt's Star Cross'd trilogy, is an epic work of historical fiction set at the outset of the Italian Renaissance. At the centre of the novel is Pietro Alaghieri, son of the renowned poet Dante, a young man whose courage and steadfastness in battle bring him to the attention of Verona's much vaunted ruler, Cangrande della Scala. Trusted by both Cangrande and Cangrande's sister, Katerina, Pietro finds himself drawn deep into the political i
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Recommendations
"The Master of Verona" is a masterfully crafted story that weaves in Shakespearian characters and events as well as notable figures from the Renaissance age. The plot begins in Verona, Italy where the exiled poet Dante and his family have been invited to live by its renowned leader, Francesco "Cangrande" della Scala. As the story evolves seventeen year old Pietro Alagheri, Dante's heir after the sudden death of his older brother has discovered that Destiny's plan does not include serving in the ...more
Jul 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
Holy shit. Five hundred and sixty six pages.

For a long time I've believed that there is only one point in reading book reviews. You should know if a book is worth your time. If you were on a desert island somewhere in Ohio it wouldn't matter very much if a book were at classic status. As a child I spent the majority of my reading hours on cereal boxes.

I cannot imagine an audience for this book. I read it at the recommendation of its editor. The fact that this book and Mercutio are vaguely rivals
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook
This book was a slow start - there are a lot of characters (handily detailed in the beginning, like a dramatis personae for a play) and a lot of exposition to set up, but once I got through that and had a feel for the characters, the book became extremely engaging. I had no knowledge of the specific period of history the author was referencing, so I found the story to be that much more suspenseful and fascinating, simply because I was learning so much about the time period. I was surprised that ...more
Vicki Kondelik
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Master of Verona is the first volume in an outstanding historical series. Dante and his family, exiled from Florence, arrive in Verona under the protection of its charismatic ruler, Cangrande della Scala, who may or may not be the "Greyhound" foretold in a prophecy. Dante's son Pietro, the protagonist of the series, greatly admires Cangrande and is wounded in battle fighting for Verona against Padua. (Blixt, a fight director who conducts sword-fighting workshops at Historical Novel Society c ...more
Jean Hontz
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it

Political intrigue Shakespearean style.

What’s a boy to do if his father is the poet Dante? Pietro wanted only to be a scholar, but instead, due to his elder brother’s death, finds himself drawn out of school to attend his father in his exile from Florence. He arrives in Verona and finds himself immediately drawn into the intrigue as he falls under the influence of the Greyhound, the Master of Verona, and the Greyhound’s sister, who not only captures Pietro’s loyalty but his heart, even if she i
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