Shields Down (The House of Baric Part One) / A Brother’s Defense (The House of Baric Part Two)
The long-ago arranged marriage of young Mauritius “Mauro” Baric, one of the last of the House of Baric, is the crux of Jillian Bald’s fantastic, old-fashioned swashbuckling epic trilogy.
Mauro has been contracted by his family to marry Resi Kokkinos, an Ottoman Greek girl betrothed to him years ago to settle her father’s debt to the Barics. The series starts off in the summer of 1649 and pulls the reader immediately into the complex and colorful world of Venice at the zenith of its power.
Bald’s period research is everywhere evident, and although her dialog can initially be a bit stiff, it loosens up and becomes more natural as the chapters progress. The action and exotic settings of the novels are richly atmospheric; Venice itself becomes almost another character. This is a delightful series, and I finished the second book eager to read the third.
(Book one and two reviewed together)