Select one of the keywords
Scimitar    by Robin Raybould order for
by Robin Raybould
Order:  USA  Can
Tetrabiblion, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Here is a story that brings alive a very interesting time in the 15th century. With the Turks threatening Europe, and the Greek and Latin Church agreeing officially in the Council of Florence to unite - but whose leaders on either side with grave doubts about it ever happening - the setting is ripe for international plots and counterplots.

A young man, Eduardo Ferrucci, a lover of books from Ferrara, is caught in the intrigue and sent to Constantinople to spy on the Greeks. When the Turks besiege the city, Eduardo's gift of language saves him. That is quite an adventure in itself, but wait, there is lots more. Eduardo's attractiveness to the ladies leads him to be involved with several beautiful women, who whether willingly or not, become part of the twists and turns of the various conspiracies. And finally, there is a secret text that Ferrucci is determined to uncover, which leads us to understand how valuable the literary riches of Constantinople were, how deeply they were prized and how quickly they began to disappear as the city went into decline.

I think author Raybould, who is a scholar of Renaissance literature, had both a lot of work and a lot of fun with this novel. The research evidenced here is prodigious, as is the imaginative surround of the story: a historian happening on the writings of one Eduardo Ferrucci. The story is perhaps a bit too complex, though. It is not easy for a nonscholar to work one's way through all the references to antiquity, for example. If the review copy I received was a working one, I would wish for the addition of a map and a better copy-read, especially at the end. But if you are game for a handsome, titled rags-to-riches hero, several beautiful but poignant love stories, swashbuckling adventure on land and sea, along with earnest pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and for Florence, it is all here for your enjoyment.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Historical books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews