In 2009, looking to read about places besides England, I picked up a book set in Renaissance era Verona and billed as the historical backstory that led to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. I thought it sounded intriguing and it was! – I finished the Master of Verona (at almost 600 pages) in a matter of days and was glad to hear that a sequel was planned. My excitement was short lived however as the release date for Voice of the Falconer was pushed back and then cancelled altogether. I was disappointed, figuring I would never know the rest of the story.
Now here we are a couple of years later, with author David Blixt deciding to publish Voice of the Falconer (along with the third book in the series, Fortune’s Fool) and I was more than happy to sign on for his blog tour. So…was it worth the wait? You bet.
Picking up eight years after Master of Verona, Cangrande della Scala’s illegitimate heir, Cesco, has been living in obscurity with Pietro Alaghieri (son of the famous Dante). When news arrives that Cangrande is dead, Pietro knows that it’s time to take Cesco to Verona to claim his inheritance. What follows is a another wild roller coaster ride as Pietro and Cesco try to stay a step ahead of those who are less than thrilled to learn of the boys existence. And they find more than a few surprises.
Pietro is a young man who has taken his duty to Cesco seriously and the pair share a father/son type of bond that Pietro is reluctant to see come to an end. As for Cesco, at eleven years old his self confidence, quick wit and swagger masks the inevitable insecurities of his age and his circumstances. It is hard not to love Cesco. But at times I found his thought process, ability to think quickly on his feet and barbed comeback lines a little too advanced for his age.
Like its predecessor, Voice of the Falconer is action packed - full of twists and turns and just when you think you know where it’s headed, Blixt throws in another curve. Lies and betrayal are everywhere, making the plot intricately detailed and as a result, sometimes a little hard to follow, especially with the very large cast of characters. As explained in the Author’s Note, there are various references to other Shakespeare characters, but since I was never a huge fan and haven’t read most of his works, the references went right over my head (except for brief appearances by Romeo and Juliet themselves as children). I don't think that affected my ability to follow the story though and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’m definitely looking forward to book three!
In case the FTC asks: copy from the author as part of the author's blog tour