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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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Leo62
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Post by Leo62 » Wed March 4th, 2009, 9:34 pm

[quote=""annis""]Posted by Leo62


I notice that my old favourite Book Depository has it listed
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/97 ... -of-Verona
but I'm not sure if you might think it a bit expensive,
Would your library be able to get you a copy?[/quote]

Thanks for the links annis and Vanessa :) I will try to get a copy off amazon as that seems a bit cheaper. My local public library system doesn't have it - I could order it but that will take months...

Unfortunately, whichever way I go, I'll be way too late to join in here. But hey, without this forum I would never have heard of this book :D

***STOP PRESS***
Just found a copy at the other public library I belong to (I'm on the border between two boroughs). I didn't think in a million years they'd have it :D Have just put in a request so in a few days it will be mine all mine mwahahaha :cool:
Last edited by Leo62 on Wed March 4th, 2009, 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

annis
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Post by annis » Thu March 5th, 2009, 2:24 am

Yay! Must be fate at work :)

annis
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Post by annis » Thu March 5th, 2009, 4:28 am

Dysfunctional royal families certainly abound throughout history. I was reminded of Herod the Great after reading "Agrippa's Daughter". He disposed of a wife, brother-in-law and two sons amongst the many other unrelated unfortunates he had put to death. (Though there's now some doubt about whether he did in fact order the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of Jesus' birth.)

And didn't Ivan the Terrible throw a major tantrum and kill his only legitimate son and heir, bringing about the extinction of the Rurik Dynasty?

The other ingredient in the dynastic mix was the illegimate sons. Emperors Charlemagne and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II had several, as did Henrys 1 and II of England. How must those sons have felt, knowing that they were effectively cut out of the loop of succession and real power? Perfect breeding ground for resentment and rebellion you'd have to think. Yet several proved very loyal, like Henry II's son Geoffrey who stayed with his father to the very end. Chroniclers record Henry as saying bitterly that his "legitimate children were the real bastards"

Frederick II's illegimate son, Manfred of Sicily, has a small but significant part in the novel i'm currently reading. His father obviously regarded him highly, but Manfred's efforts to hold Hohenstaufen lands were fruitless in the face of the Pope's inplacable enmity. Manfred appears in Dante's "Commedia". As an excommunicate, he stands outside Purgatory, waiting to be admitted.
http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/pur ... ml#manfred
Last edited by annis on Thu March 5th, 2009, 6:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Thu March 5th, 2009, 2:01 pm

You could almost rewrite Tolstoy's famous line (taking out the word unhappy), "every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in
its own way," which is what makes stories like this so interesting.

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cesco
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Post by cesco » Thu March 5th, 2009, 5:44 pm

It's amazing that all of this has arisen from the character of Luigi, whom I originally created as a mere stepping-stone to get to Tybalt (Thibault). Antony's brother only really came into his own in the final draft, when he played his little trick at the end with the dagger. But his feelings for his brother are passed down to his son, leading to the tension between Capulet and Tybalt in the play.

NB - the one typo that persists in each edition is the star next to Luigi's name in the dramatis personae. That star belongs to Antony, who is Shakespearean. I think it's clear from the story that Luigi is not Lord Capulet - Antony is. But I regret any confusion that misplaced star causes.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Thu March 5th, 2009, 7:07 pm

Chroniclers record Henry as saying bitterly that his "legitimate children were the real bastards"
Henry had grounds for saying that, too. One of his sons (the one named for him!) started a war against him, and none of them could get along with each other. After his death, Richard (now king) essentially abandoned his kingdom for years on end to fight in the Crusades, while John made war on Richard to wrest the kingdom away from him, and made such a poor king that his lords forced him to sign the Magna Carta.

David - I was not in the least confused by the typo next to Luigi's name in the Dramatis Personae, because I have a terrible habit of not reading introductory material! Part of the fun, I think, was discovering Shakespeare characters as I read. I loved that "Easter-egg-hunt" aspect of MOV. As I read down the list of Dramatis Personae now, though, I see that you have only listed major characters, and many of the Shakespeare characters who popped up are not on the list, so studying the list would not eliminate the "Easter-egg-hunt" fun. I'm looking forward to posting your author interview on my blog!
Last edited by Margaret on Mon March 9th, 2009, 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon March 9th, 2009, 4:54 am

David's been kind enough to give me a fascinating interview for my blog at www.HistoricalNovels.info. Among the things I was curious about was how he researched the astrology in The Master of Verona, and how many Shakespeare characters, altogether, make cameo appearances in the novel (a lot more than I picked up on - time to brush up on my Shakespeare).
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Tanzanite
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Post by Tanzanite » Mon March 9th, 2009, 4:25 pm

I finished this last night and thought it was fantastic!

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon March 9th, 2009, 5:25 pm

This is not being rude - I hope! :o
David, I haven't read any of your novels yet - I probably intend to (explanation follows!)

People have compared you to Dorothy Dunnett and I just love Dunnett.
However I hate Shakespeare. Just mention of his name makes my toes curl up with loathing. So, my question is: Is it necessary to love the bard in order to read your work? If it's just an incidental like Dunnnett's quotes and poetry that adds value, but you can read without, then I'm set, but if it's a more integral part of the whole, should I avoid?
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon March 9th, 2009, 6:38 pm

It's much more like Dunnett than Shakespeare, EC. The Dunnett comparison is very apt. But why don't you like Shakespeare? Is it the iambic pentameter and the archaic language? Were you made to stumble and stutter your way through cold oral readings of his work in high school? I think Shakespeare himself would be horrified to think that his work would more often, after his lifetime, be read on the page than performed on the stage -- I can't imagine he would ever have intended that! Have you seen any of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films? Or the film of Romeo and Juliet that Zefferelli made in the late 1960s?
Last edited by Margaret on Mon March 9th, 2009, 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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