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The Master of Verona

Narrated by: David Blixt
Series: Star-Cross'd Series, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Cangrande della Scala is everything a man should be. Daring. Ambitious. Charming. Brilliant. Ruthless. To the poet Dante - indeed, to the world - Cangrande is the ideal Renaissance prince. 

Until Dante’s son discovers a secret that could be Cangrande’s undoing. 

Suddenly thrust into the schemes and betrayals surrounding Verona’s prince, Pietro Alighieri must navigate a rivalry that severs a friendship, divides a city, and sparks a feud that will produce Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet! 

Based on the plays of William Shakespeare and the poetry of Dante, The Master of Verona is a sweeping novel of Renaissance Italy. Filled with swashbuckling adventure, unrequited love, and brutal treachery, this epic journey recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman, and Dorothy Dunnett.  

©2007 David Blixt (P)2017 David Blixt

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Fascinating Historical Fiction; Superb Performance

I started this book with some trepidation, a little intimidated by the sheer length -- and I have never read a book by this author, David Blixt, before. But I was caught up in it immediately and I was totally engaged in it. It never stops moving. Blixt's ability to paint a scene, the lush and colorful visual detail, is just marvelous. I could imagine the people and landscapes so vividly. I was also very impressed with his mastery of the historical background here -- not just events but also places, everyday life, weapons, clothing, even morals. His dialogue and narrative is accessible, almost modern, but not jarringly so -- rather, it immerses and engages you more fully in the story. There are a lot of styles and moods to this book -- it can be very funny and often ironic, but it also is a serious, sometimes somber mystery / suspense.

I was kind of amazed that he could write this book so well, never mind narrate it so beautifully! His performance was excellent; he is clearly an experienced actor, and he infuses it with a lively emotional investment, great rhythm -- all the qualities of an experienced performer. I really recommend this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional, Riveting, Best Historical Fiction!

This book (and the series that follows) is one of the best historical fiction stories I've read in my lifetime. The characters are complex and, while many are based on real historical figures and/or Shakespeare characters, wholly unique. Their motives are never fixed, one can never be sure about the direction each individual's story might take, and the overall story arc and plot line is compelling on many different levels: emotionally, intellectually, and for pure enjoyment. David Blixt as a writer is the perfect mesh of high-brow wit, historical fact, recognizable quotes from literature, and low-brow scrapes, bruises, and battles. Blixt as a narrator is everything you would want in an audiobook narrator: Consistently high-quality, and bringing the characters on paper to life. I highly recommend anyone who enjoys this audiobook to buy the other books in the series: Voice of the Falconer, Fortune's Fool, and The Prince's Doom. Unfortunately, these books are not yet available as audiobooks, but, despite their hefty size, I finished each book in two or three days because I simply couldn't put them down. Looking forward to these books being released as audiobooks, and I hope Blixt continues to write such fascinating tales!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Isabelle F
  • 08-03-18

An excellent piece of historical fiction

I really enjoyed listening to this book, having read the entire four part series a few years ago. The story is set in 14th century Verona and follows the various intrigues that involve the ruling Della Scala family. War, honor, romance, politics and drama are all central to the story and the author paints a truly immersive vision of medieval Europe. As the book evolves one begins to slowly recognize familiar characters and references that are slowly teased out, as the delicate draping of a Shakespearean narrative is revealed.

The author, who also narrates the audio version, has clearly undertaken extensive research and not only delivers the historical atmosphere of the era through real events, but also delivers it with a turn of phrase that truly captures how one would imagine such interactions taking place in that setting. The strength of these interactions is built upon very strong dialogue, which is delivered with great skill. He also dips into an encyclopedic knowledge of artifacts, objects and costumes of the time, and shows a particularly strong understanding of medieval armory, references to which are always delivered subtlety and not merely for their own sake.

The delivery of the narrative, as delivered through the audio, is strong and well paced. The narrator has a wide variety of voices which remain consistent through out. He delivers the emotion of the characters very well and it is obvious that he has a deep understanding of his work.

I really enjoyed listening to this book and returned to it, in its entirety, after the first listen. I am looking forward to future recordings from this author/narrator and highly recommend it to all readers/listeners.