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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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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu March 12th, 2009, 4:43 am

my copy of MOV just arrived, and I was sucked in at once. As it happens, the Guelph/Ghibelline issue is constantly referred to in the NF I am reading (About Charles V's Ambassador to Rome, among other places) but the writer assumes that all the readers know what it is. I meant to look it up to learn more, and will, now that it has popped up in MOV.

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Post by diamondlil » Thu March 12th, 2009, 5:40 am

I really love it when that odd kind of link happens unexpectedly.
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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Thu March 12th, 2009, 10:43 am

The Guelph/Ghibelline issue can get confusing very quickly with the way alliances were constantly shifting. Marrying off a female relative and other political considerations would often cause a ripple effect in the reordering of those political alliances.

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Post by annis » Thu March 12th, 2009, 7:33 pm

I was intrigued by David's comment in his interview on Margaret's Historical Novels Info blog about the number of Shakesperaean crosssover characters in MOV, far more than I'd discovered! To help us out, David has posted a list on his blogsite:
http://themasterofverona.typepad.com/

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Post by annis » Thu March 19th, 2009, 2:57 am

I came across this article about Guelphs and Ghibellines which I found quite concise and helpful, especially in relation to Dante's involvement. To add to the preexisting complications of the conflict, in 1300, the Guelphs divided into two opposing parties , known as the Blacks (Neri) and Whites (Bianchi)
http://www.dantealighieri.net/cambridge/guelphs.html

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Post by cesco » Thu March 19th, 2009, 3:27 am

[quote=""annis""]I came across this article about Guelphs and Ghibellines which I found quite concise and helpful, especially in relation to Dante's involvement. To add to the preexisting complications of the conflict, in 1300, the Guelphs divided into two opposing parties , known as the Blacks (Neri) and Whites (Bianchi)
http://www.dantealighieri.net/cambridge/guelphs.html[/quote]

Lovely link. This is one of those fascinating pieces of the backstory that was (mostly) excised from the novel for the sake of pacing - how the Guelph (Welf) and Ghibelline (Waiblingen) thing got started, the history that branched out under Frederick II, then became entirely disconnected from the Pope/Emperor debate, turning regional. Then came the very weird internal split between the Bianci and Neri in Florence that led to Dante's exile.

As Cangrande married Frederick's illegitimate grand-daughter, it was all linked - and I rather fancy Cangrande was looking at that link with an eye to the future. But in the end those pages didn't drive the narrative. Nor did the history of horse armaments, of which I was so very proud. Ah well. There are many books to come.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat March 21st, 2009, 12:39 am

Just finished the duel. Cesco, you do a wonderful job describing fight scenes. Not being much of a fan of war novels, I confess they bore me because I have no idea what the weapons are supposed to be doing. In the middle of a very heated scene, you also managed to describe what each weapon was and how it could be used, making the strategy come alive. Bravo!

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Post by Margaret » Sat March 21st, 2009, 4:30 am

So true. I think that's the key to writing a good battle scene. Bernard Cornwell is also good at this. And the first battle scene I ever enjoyed reading was in Rosemary Sutcliff's Flowers of Adonis, a scene of naval warfare in ancient Greece.
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Post by annis » Sat March 21st, 2009, 6:46 am

Talking of battles, even though he was undoubtedly a rogue I got quite attached to Asdente, and was quite sorry when Cangrande finished him off. I suspect Cangrande rather liked Asdente as well, but didn't let sentiment get in his way.

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Sat March 21st, 2009, 1:34 pm

I appreciated the fact that while Pietro does well during the duel, he also makes mistakes (actually, both of them do). Made it much more realistic and believable.

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