This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
I’ve read so many books more than 3 times. I’m just going to have to pick something to talk about that is not Discworld or Harry Potter, because this is only the second question and I’m going to talk about those two so much in the other posts that you guys are going to want to kill me.
Right. So, I’m going to be talking about The Medici Seal by Theresa Breslin today. This book is probably my favourite historical novel. I’ve also read The Nostradamus Prophecy by Ms Breslin and after this I determined that she really does do her research well.
Personally, I love history. I had History as a subject my entire high school career and finished with it as my best subject. When I got to university, I continued this by taking European History as a minor for one semester. Therefore, as you can probably figure out already, I checked up facts. I could not find any of the usual temporal anomalies or discrepancies that I’ve met in historical novels before.
What I found instead was a world painted so vividly that I was swept away. Ms Breslin portrays Leonardo da Vinci as he does some of his greatest work, including the flying machine and the famous Mona Lisa. She does so through a young boy that Da Vinci and his friends/assistants rescue from a river. He is named Matteo and he is not telling Da Vinci the truth about his past.
Matteo becomes involved in the plots of the Italic city-states rife with religious and political tension. Before the end he is going to have to confront those that are following him and also the secrets that will be revealed about his past. How far would he go for his friends? How much is he going to have to sacrifice?
Throughout all of this, Da Vinci is there as a wise and calming influence. Matteo broke my heart by breaking Da Vinci’s and I was furious at him. However, Da Vinci never acts with anything less than the all-encompassing love that those so-called church leaders in the book are struggling to achieve. He loves Matteo and Matteo calls him “Maestro”.
This book is so good. All the scenes are so vividly described that I can see Italy of the sixteenth century. All the characters are so real that you feel truly sorry at every death and you truly feel for those in pain. Yes, there is rather a lot of death. I never said this was a cheerful book.
An added bonus to reading this book was that I grew extremely interested in the work of Da Vinci. I spent a lot of pleasant hours researching his work. Yes, I love doing research if I don’t have to and I hate having to do it for assignments. I especially found the pieces about how he studied anatomy extremely interesting and along with this the religious views on death that were prevalent during the 16th century were also very interesting. Another interesting titbit that I picked up through reading The Medici Seal was the views on left-handed or ambidextrous people that people had during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Because I also (mostly) write left-handed, it interested me personally and made me glad that I did not live during that time.
All in all, I cannot stop rereading this book. Every time I read it again, I pick up some little detail that I missed before. Every time the feuds and wars and deceits interest me anew. This is a book that will remain on my “to-read-now-and-then-often-again”-shelves for a long time. Currently, it keeps its sibling The Nostradamus Prophecy company and stands close to my lovely Discworld books. Oh dear, just from writing this now, I want to read it again. But I’m not allowed to at the moment. Some other time, perhaps?
Bam! (Sorry, a Sparknote moment there.)
Check back tomorrow for
some too much gushing about my favourite series!