AMAZON UK £4.41
AMAZON US $5.97
AMAZON CA $7.34
Family drama / fantasy
Antonius is a peasant employed at the palazzo of the Conte Leonardo Valperga doing menial tasks. But he has a special talent: he can read people's thoughts. Meanwhile, Savinus de Benevento, a seer of great renown whose clients include the Conte, is looking for an apprentice. Passing Savinus' tests easily, Antonius is taken on along with one other, Nichola, the son of Conte Leonardo. Immediately there is conflict between them as Nichola is arrogant and resents playing second fiddle to someone so far beneath him socially. And, of course, they both fall in love with Savinus' beautiful daughter, Giulia.
Naturally, Nichola tries everything he knows to discredit Antonius but you can't keep secrets from a mind reader and Savinus is well aware of the boy's tricks.
Not a bad tale and a solid debut novel; it is pacey and illustrates well the difference between the wealthy and the poor in 16th Century Italy. The introduction of shape-shifting was a disappointment to me taking it too far into the realms of fantasy - although it is important to later events in the story, and fans of fantasy will enjoy this element.
© Richard Tearle
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