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March 2009 - The Master of Verona by David Blixt

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

March 2009 - The Master of Verona by David Blixt

Postby diamondlil » Sat February 28th, 2009, 9:20 pm

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Please discuss the March 2009 book of the month, The Master of Verona by David Blixt in this thread.
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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Sat February 28th, 2009, 9:23 pm

You can read some reviews for this book here

David Blixt is pleased that MoV won this months vote. He has posted about it here.

By the way, if you check previous entries on his blog you will find some short stories that are set in the same world as Master of Verona.
My Blog - Reading Adventures



All things Historical Fiction - Historical Tapestry





There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.



Edith Wharton

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat February 28th, 2009, 9:25 pm

Margaret mentioned Pietro's dog, Mercurio, in the "Dog and the Novel" thread, which reminds me of how much I enjoyed all the Shakespearan in-jokes scattered throughout "Master of Verona." Mercurio of course, is one of the characters from "Romeo and Juliet", the play which inspired "Master of Verona"

I lent the book to one of my sons who also really enjoyed it and we had fun comparing notes afterwards to see who had picked up what references. He was quite peeved because I got "Merchant of Venice" (from a mention of Shylock) and he missed it. My brain cells can't be as diminished as I feared!

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Richard
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Postby Richard » Sat February 28th, 2009, 9:42 pm

The character in R&J is "Mercutio". :) Based on the way Mercutio meets his end in Romeo and Juliet, if any animal were to take an arrow meant for its master it'd be a dog named Mercutio.
Last edited by Richard on Sat February 28th, 2009, 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat February 28th, 2009, 10:04 pm

Doesn't Romeo call him Mercurio during the fight scene where he is fatally wounded? (Scene One, Act 3)
Quote: Romeo: Gentle Mercurio, put thy rapier up.

*Edit -I suspect this might be another example of the way the author likes to tease the reader, as this variation in Mercutio's name only appears in certain editions of the play.
Last edited by annis on Sat February 28th, 2009, 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Sat February 28th, 2009, 10:42 pm

There are also minor comings and goings of characters from Much Ado About Nothing, and I have a feeling they'll be around in the next book as well.

I enjoyed this and look forward to what sort of stew the author will concoct in the next book. I really enjoyed learning about Cangrande. I really did not know much about him. Did anyone look up the wiki article on Cangrande and read about the exhumation of his body in 2004? Looks like there's a good case for death by poison in Cangrande's future.

Books like this do remind me of how much I've forgotten of Dante and Shakespeare. I haven't tackled either of them since my college days over 20 years ago.

I liked how adroit the literary parts were; nothing felt labored or pretentious or striving for sophistication. It flowed into the story quite naturally and was easily digestible, I thought.

What did you think of the name Cangrande used when he was disguised as a Spanish notary -- Persiguieron La Mordedura? But really, I was shaking my finger at Pietro for not realizing!

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat February 28th, 2009, 10:56 pm

Pietro is a bit of an innocent abroad, though, isn't he? Though he does become rather disillusioned and more wordly by the end of the story. I found the character of Cangrande fascinating. I immediately thought of Francis Crawford of Dorothy Dunnett's "Lymond" series. But as the story progresses you realise that there is a darker side to Cangrande than Lymond- in fact, is he as much villain as hero?

Unfortunately I don't speak Spanish, Ludmilla, so missed the significance of the name Persiguieron La Mordedura. Can you please translate so I can get it?

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Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Sun March 1st, 2009, 12:03 am

I don't really know Spanish, either. But I knew as soon as I read it that it was a play on words so I looked it up (not sure if there is a wider significance within the body of literature that is referenced):

perseguir = to follow
Mordedura - wound made by biting (dog bite? in the case of Cangrande?)

Someone here can probably offer a real translation.

Yes, I agree that Pietro is rather an innocent who learns the bitter lesson that heroes don't often turn out to be the people we think (hope) they are. I also enjoyed his sister's character -- Antonia. I hope she continues to play a major part in the next book.

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Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Sun March 1st, 2009, 12:09 am

Oops! Double post... not sure how that happened.
Last edited by Ludmilla on Sun March 1st, 2009, 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sun March 1st, 2009, 1:08 am

Thanks, Ludmilla. I missed that one! There are so many layers to this book, that I'm sure there must be others which I didn't get. It's probably a novel which bears re-reading- once you were not so intent on following the story, you might be able to pick up on more of the various references and word-plays :)


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