The Master of Verona

Written by David Blixt
Review by Lucille Cormier

How much of life is determined by the stars? How much by the choices of men? How far will a man go to achieve his destiny? Those are the questions.

               Set in Italy in the year 1314, The Master of Verona is a mesmerizing tapestry of tales written in five acts. The great poet, Dante, arrives inVerona. His patron isVerona’s ruler, Francesco della Scala. In a fast-moving sequence, Dante’s son, Pietro, follows della Scala into battle against neighboringPadua. It is the beginning of Pietro’s story as confidant, friend, and knight in service of the master ofVerona—and as witness to the tragic love triangle of his two friends and the girl they both love. The story climbs to a climactic twist, and Pietro must confront his destiny.

               The Master of Verona is fast, colorful, and action-packed; plus, there are no flat characters. Even those cast members in cameo roles shine. There is also depth and abundant historical detail to the story. The only troubling aspect of the narrative is that the characters speak in 21st-century American English.

               A confession: it has been a long time since this reviewer stayed up until dawn to finish a novel, but it happened with The Master of Verona. Be prepared to burn themidnight oil. It’s well worth it.

Lucille Cormier