20 March 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of Lucia’s Renaissance by C. L. R. Peterson

Lucia's Renaissance: A Novel of 16th-century Italy

AMAZON US $4.13 

Family Drama

For most of us, the word Inquisition conjures up Medieval Spain and Portugal. However, during the waning decades of the Italian Renaissance and after the pope had returned to Rome, Catholic zeal to combat the Reformation of Martin Luther struck terror for enlightened Italians. Many of them died under the torture from the Grand Inquisitor and his zealot henchmen.

The author begins the story of young Lucia Locatelli and her family in 1571 in Verona. An extremely bright child, Lucia discovers Martin Luther’s hidden doctrines in her father’s study. Fired up by her thirst for learning and unfettered young idealism, her fervor sends her family on a terror-stricken path. Her physician father is branded a heretic and imprisoned. To atone, he is sent to the pestilence-ridden Venice. Eventually, Lucia follows him there in hopes of a new beginning.

Lucia’s Renaissance is told in first-person from the few main protagonists. A relatively uncomplicated read, the novel’s subject is nevertheless terrifying, and I kept reading in hopes of a better outcome for the Locatellis. Wisely, the author did not romanticize those terrible times when a careless word could spell death.

This is C. L. R. Peterson’s debut novel. Hopefully, she will write a more intricate tapestry of those times to showcase her talent and extensive research. As an aside, I did find the extremely large dropped caps irritating on my Kindle. I was also surprised that the one German sentence was mangled. A quick Google search would have given her the perfect “Wer sind Sie?” Other than that, the book was perfectly edited.

© Inge H. Borg

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19 March 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of: Bright Sword by Christine Hancock

AMAZON US $5.58 

Historical fiction / Coming of Age / Military / 
10th Century AD
Settings: England

Book 1: The Byrhtnoth Chronicles

Everyone who knows their pre-Conquest history will have heard of Byrhtnoth. Christine Hancock undertakes to give us a series of books about his remarkable life and Bright Sword kicks off with the young Byrhtnoth being sent away from his village to be trained as a soldier of  King Edmund. As he grows into his mid-teens, it is obvious that he is charismatic, a good fighter and an intelligent leader. Because of these qualities he makes both friends and enemies amongst his peers.

One thing drives Byrhtnoth: his mother was sent away when he was a child and he does not know the name of his father. The man who could tell him, the lord of his village, dies before he can reveal the name. Byrhtnoth finds himself named as the new lord and heir to a tantalising sword which he cannot yet claim as his own.

Meanwhile, the king has been assassinated and, charged with looking for anything suspicious, Byrhtnoth is distracted and fails to stop the deed. He is distraught and believes that he was responsible and runs away. He is injured in a great forest and likely to die, but is rescued and taken to a nearby abbey. Here he meets an nun called Edith, and Byrhtnoth's life changes …..

There is a lot of pace to this book, short chapters that compel you to read 'just one more' and great descriptions of locations, mostly in the east of the country around Ely. One underlying theme is the way women were looked upon and treated; no preaching, just stating what was most probably so in those times.

There are few answers to Byrhtnoth's problems in this, the first of the series, but no doubt these will come in the volumes to follow; if you enjoy this book as much as I did, you will be looking out for the publication of Byrhtnoth's further adventures.

The cover by www.avalongraphics.org  is beautifully simple yet immediately eye-catching.

© Richard Tearle

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17 March 2018

It's the Weekend

No reviews over the weekend 
but did you miss...

'A Gang of Doctors Killed Me'
a look at Roman doctors and medicine by Ruth Downie


How we Discover our Diamonds - a look at how the system works.

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