The King’s Agent by Donna Russo Morin is a historical mystery full of adventure, intrigue, a little romance, and my personal favorite – lots of information on art. This novel is a different type of historical in that there is even a fantasy element to it and I found that quite interesting. The novel started out slowly for me but I see now that it was setting the stage for all the excitement to come. Round about seventy or so pages in I was completely hooked on the story and through every adventure I raced through the pages.
The author brings a real historical figure to life in Battista della Palla who is essentially a thief. He lives to serve the King of France as his art dealer and if can’t procure what the King wants by legal methods, well then he resorts to the illegal ones. It is on one such adventure while he is attempting to steal a piece of art from the Marquess of Mantua that he makes an error in judgment and almost gets caught. The only reason that he doesn’t get caught is because the Lady Aurelia saves his butt. The thing is though she has her own motivation for helping him.
Lady Aurelia is the ward of the Marquess of Mantua who protects and shelters her from any harm. She is tired of being unable to have any freedom at all and in truth she craves adventure. When she happens upon Battista and gets him out of the house she realizes that with him she could get a taste of the adventure she wants. She convinces him that she knows a great deal about art and can help in getting this all powerful piece that the King wants and that is when the partnership is formed.
Battista by all accounts is a man who commands attention. His home is open to the men who work with him and because he is a good man his men are fiercely loyal to him. Aurelia proves on a few occasions that she is indeed knowledgeable and has good ideas but still he is nervous about her. There is something different about her but he can’t put his finger on it. Time and time again he is amazed by the things she tells him that she’s never experienced like simply taking a walk on a street or sitting in a restaurant. He is very much intrigued by her.
The piece that the King wants requires that three separate pieces be found. Battista and Aurelia set off on hair raising adventures to get these pieces. Along the way they discover each other but they also lose a lot as well. Ultimately in the end Battista finds himself in a position that he never could have imagined and Aurelia must, at all costs, remain loyal to her people above all else.
This is a fun story because of the adventure element. I’ve heard it compared to Indiana Jones and I guess I’d have to agree with that. As for me I knew something was up with Aurelia but I was surprised by what eventually came to be. I loved all the references to art and artists. At one point Battista and Aurelia visit Michelangelo and he takes them on a tour of Rome that is fascinating for the reader. The King’s Agent is a great read for the historical fan who likes elements of fantasy and mystery with plenty of historical facts as well. I really enjoyed it and look forward to more of Donna Russo Morin’s work!
I read The King’s Agent by Donna Russo Morin for her book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Be sure to follow along with the other tour stops and see what everyone else thinks about the book. Donna can be found on her website, Facebook, and Twitter so be sure to stop by and visit her! You can purchase your own copy of The King’s Agent here in the US or here in Canada.
Be sure to pop by the wonderful guest post that Donna wrote for Peeking Between the Pages and enter the giveaway that is open internationally for a copy of The King’s Agent!
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Author. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions posted are my own.