Series: Saint-Germain #2
Published by Mass Market Publishing on March 1st, 2003
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
The anticipated paperback release of the second title in Yarbro's long-running Saint-Germain series featuring immortal vampire Francesco Ragoczy da San Germano. Secluded in his Renaissance Florence palace, he falls for a beautiful courtesan and loses all desire for isolation.
From the onset I announced I intended to write a fully biased review of this book, and I will make good on my promise. I simply cannot NOT enjoy a Medici-Florence novel by anyone.
Once again, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s attention to detail and dedication to the historical context is stellar. Florence as it was comes alive in her hands, not overly exaggerated for opulent effect, but not undervalued as such a significant and impactful place and time. Such influential and deeply loved individuals as Lorenzo ‘il Magnifico’ and Sandro Botticelli are brought to life with the same respect and reverence – not overtly characterized, referencing their legacy to make them realistic, and human. Admittedly, my personal familiarity of the subject matter was at times troublesome – I understand how incredibly unlikely it would be for someone, even a man of considerable influence and wealth, to be considered among the innermost circle of Lorenzo Medici’s friends, and then subsequently, even under an alias, warranting someone as important as Savonarola to come to his personal bedside to pray for his ‘recovery’. But Saint-Germain always seems to rise to prominence and importance and perfection everywhere, doesn’t he?
On a purely selfish note, I was disappointed that Lorenzo’s death came so early in this book – the timelines of actual historic events are immutable, but beginning a Medicean book in 1491 when Magnifico passes in 1492 feels cruel. A teaser of such a great man and character! I felt Francesco’s anguish to say farewell so early, and while I do not actually approve of supernatural-ifying actual historical characters, for a brief moment I almost wanted it. Thank goodness the author thought better of it.
I always feel as if Yarbro has a vestigial plot-limb that would be better if left out, and the Palace was not an exception: The self-imposed builder exiles added nothing to the overall story, and even he who was the treacherous betrayer in his return to Florence did very little and achieved nothing before his end, which also happened in such a haphazard way it could have been anyone. It felt pointless.
I appreciated the non-romantic relationship of Francesco and Demetrice as a refreshing change of pace from the usual love relationship Saint-Germain has to progress the story, it gave her more character, and more reason to enjoy her. And as a side note, I could not have wanted to throttle Estasia more, which is a testament to Yarbro’s effectiveness in writing such an undesirable character. It was her purpose to be insufferable, and she certainly achieved no less!
So, a win for me, but probably the last of the Saint-Germains that I can handle.