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The Poet Prince    by Kathleen McGowan order for
Poet Prince
by Kathleen McGowan
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Poet Prince is the third (following The Expected One and The Book of Love in Kathleen McGowan's Magdalene Line series, a 'spiritual detective story'. I recommend reading the books in order, as it's hard to catch up if not. I became slowly entranced with the historical aspect of The Poet Prince – history has always intrigued me. And I had been to Florence, the hub of the action. I was hooked.

Most of that action takes place during the middle 1400s when Lorenzo de Medici is at the height of his benevolent power. Florence, at this point in time, is not part of Italy per se but an entity in itself. And there are always those who cannot let others seem to be more powerful than themselves. A plot to bring down the House of de Medici brews while Florence and Lorenzo cater to the arts. Michelangelo, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, da Vinci, Donatello as well as many other soon to be famous artists have walk-on parts.

In the modern day, researcher Maureen Paschal is in a romantic entanglement when her man (Scottish oil mogul Bérenger Sinclair) is outted as the father of a famous model's baby. Which affair closely resembles one back in the Renaissance and which also breaks up the perfect union. The Poet Prince teeters back and forth between then and today.

The thread of the story is never lost by this mechanism – by the way, the motivation for the series is religion and the battle for predominance. Pope Sextus sure was a bad guy. And then there's Savonarola. Now there was someone you wouldn't want to have anything to do with. Determined to rule Venice through fear, he sanctioned the burning of many lovely paintings, irreplaceable manuscripts and books, and anything pertaining to vanity. He met his end in the way he destroyed all that was beautiful.

The Poet Prince is the third in what was originally to be a trilogy, but it will now be joined by two more books. McGowan's many fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The novel is well written, well researched, and very entertaining. History buffs will adore it.

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