Hard to get into at first, however once you were able to get all of the characters straight, is a very unique version of history in the 16th century that includes magic. Centered around Venice, this book is better than the second in the series.
Three writers (the others are Eric Flint and Dave Freer) collaborate on this massive concoction of alternate history, high fantasy, and historical romance set in the sixteenth-century Venice of an alternate world in which Catholicism is factionalized, the Hohenstauffens instead of the Habsburgs rule the Holy Roman Empire, magic works, and the grand duke of Lithuania is trying to use that magic against his enemy, the emperor. The central characters are half-brothers Marco and Benito Valdosta, grandsons of the duke of Ferrara who are hiding from their grandfather's enemies by posing as Venetian street (or canal) urchins. In a complex web of incidents, coincidences, luck good and bad, and the mixed motives of sympathetic and unsympathetic characters, the boys' personal fates become central to Venice's survival in the face of the northern menace. Brevity isn't the soul or any other part of this book, and the appended glossary is utterly necessary. Yet rich plotting, vivid characterization, and splendid evocation of Renaissance ethics and culture should make readers turn all the pages.
Mary H. (mamie-52) reviewed The Shadow of the Lion (Heirs of Alexandria, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 3
The Shadow of the Lion is a complex story that draws the treads of the various characters through the tapestry of the book. The stories within stories and the good guys can also do some bad things and still be good guys.
The story follows two brothers coming of age in a very turbulent time both politically and religiously. The women and men in the story present a dichotomy in views and what appears and what is real. I really enjoyed this first book and had to read it two times to get the story straight. The first time through was just for the basic story line, I really missed a lot of information that I got when I read the second time. I look forward to reading the second book