Jenny Q's Reviews > The King's Agent

The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin
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Aug 15, 2011

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bookshelves: review-copy, blog-tour, tour-of-italy
Read from August 15, 2011 to March 31, 2012

The King's Agent is an ambitious story, combining elements of theology, literature, thematic art, secret societies, and even ancient aliens, to form this swashbuckling adventure, and the adventure starts on page one. As Battista and Aurelia work together to find a mysterious sculpture that the King of France thinks will give him the power to defeat his enemy, Spain, once and for all, they stumble on to a road map of instructions hidden in Dante's Divine Comedy and in the works of Renaissance painters. But they've also stumbled on to an ancient secret, one that is guarded with deadly intent. From booby-trapped passages underneath wicked castles to caves hidden high in the mountains, their quest takes them to Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, and to a new level of awareness of the world they thought they knew.

Having devoured and adored Donna Russo Morin's previous release, To Serve A King, I have to say I was a bit let down by this one. I found the language to be really flowery and the plot was over-dramatic for my tastes. Some of the situations Battista and Aurelia found themselves in were really over the top and I just couldn't suspend disbelief enough to fully enjoy the ride. I thought the whole thing kind of read like a farce, with not enough groundwork laid to make the transition from fact to fantasy. I almost felt like Battista was stage-acting through most of the story, and I kept thinking, this would probably make a great play, but as a novel, its substance fell short for me.

But I am drawn to anything set in Italy, and that aspect of the novel was wonderful. Italy springs to glorious life in Donna Russo Morin's hands. As our protagonists travel from castle to castle, or town to town, the Italian countryside serves as a beautiful backdrop. Her depiction of the city of Florence is a treat for the senses, full of food and fashion, women and wine, art and architecture, and colorful people with colorful language. And, once again, this author managed to pull off a twist I didn't see coming, and though the ending wasn't exactly what I had hoped for, I liked that it wasn't predictable and it was very poignant. Overall I did like it, but it's not going to be my favorite of her novels. If you're in the mood for something fantastical and Italian, you may really enjoy The King's Agent.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Piepie (new) - added it

Piepie I was kind of a stalker and noticed you've read some of the same books I have, Jenny! ;)

I love the cover here, but mentions of "fantasy" and "space" are kind of turning me off from reading this book. I like my historical fiction to be just that- historical. fiction. Any other Donna Russo Morin books you can recommend? I see you liked To Serve a King?


Jenny Q It's never stalking when it comes to books! So far, To Serve a King is the only other of hers I've read--which I loved, though I have them all on my shelf, and I will be reading her newest one, Portrait of a Conspiracy next month. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person, and she is a truly lovely woman.


message 3: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth I'd like to interject and say that The Secret of the Glass is a novel that I enjoyed quite a bit.
I still have to read her other novels. With my huge to read list I have no idea when that will happen. Although, I did win a copy of Portrait of a Conspiracy and may read that one very soon.


Jenny Q So many books, so little time!


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