City of Vengeance (Cesare Aldo Series)

Written by D. V. Bishop
Review by Sally Zigmond

Winter, 1536. Cesare Aldo, a former soldier, is now employed by the “Otto”, the most feared criminal court in Florence, currently ruled by Alessandro de’ Medici. His task is to escort a prominent Jewish moneylender from Bologna back to Florence, a notorious road for ambushes by bandits. The moneylender feigns death and the bandits flee, thinking they have succeeded. However, the man is subsequently murdered in his own home, and his death has major repercussions throughout this city where money means everything. Cesare Aldo is given a mere four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany – or suffer the consequences.

The wheels of power begin to grind furiously, and even more so when the bloody body of a gaudily dressed prostitute is discovered. On closer examination, the “prostitute” is a man. Why should this second murder have anything to do with the first? During his investigations Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow Alessandro de’ Medici. If the Duke falls, it will endanger the whole city. But a rival officer of the court is determined to expose details about Aldo’s private life that could lead to his ruin. Can Aldo stop the conspiracy before anyone else dies, or will his own secrets destroy him first?

D. V. Bishop, an acclaimed screen writer and TV dramatist, has hit the ground running by introducing us to Cesare Aldo, a “hero” we can all root for as he continues to seek justice in this beautiful, rich but corrupt medieval city. City of Vengeance, the first novel in this series, is a terrific historical thriller that held me gripped from start to finish.