The King's Agent

The King's Agent

"Russo Morin skillfully blends historical fiction and fantasy in surprising ways. She draws effortlessly upon influences ranging from Dante to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the authority of her presentation makes the world she’s created come alive. A wonderfully action-packed ride through the lush landscape of Renaissance Italy." Starred Review, Publishers Weekly The King’s...

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Title:The King's Agent
Author:Donna Russo Morin
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The King's Agent Reviews

  • Patty

    Florence, Michelangelo, art, THAT COVER! What is not to like about this book at first blush? Nothing! And after reading it my initial opinion stands and then some. I don't know about you but I am first attracted to a book's cover and then drawn in by the synopsis; this one had me two for two.

    Our hero, Battista was a real person. In this novel he is an "acquirer" for Francois I. Of art. Great art, beautiful art. And with his latest assignment - art that hasn't been seen in a VERY long time. Franc

    Florence, Michelangelo, art, THAT COVER! What is not to like about this book at first blush? Nothing! And after reading it my initial opinion stands and then some. I don't know about you but I am first attracted to a book's cover and then drawn in by the synopsis; this one had me two for two.

    Our hero, Battista was a real person. In this novel he is an "acquirer" for Francois I. Of art. Great art, beautiful art. And with his latest assignment - art that hasn't been seen in a VERY long time. Francois is battling Charles V of Spain and feels that his ownership of a certain piece will ensure his superiority. Francois turns to his man Battista to find the lost art. Battista is most intrigued by the challenge and by the artwork.

    Aurelia is a lovely young woman under the care of her ward. She longs for a freedom he will not allow. Suddenly Battista enters her life offering her that freedom but she holds a secret (oh it's a good one!) that can help but it also can hurt. Will they do what is right?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this well written, enthralling mix of Renaissance art, politics, the supernatural, Dante,suspense, space, romance and yes - my passion, Michelangelo. He makes an appearance and how could I not love a book where he appears. Ms. Morin develops a cast of remarkable characters drawing from both the historical and the fictional to create a world that might have been. They all seem so very REAL. The writing evokes atmosphere so very well at times I almost thought I could smell and taste the food being served. Florence is a city of sights and smells that can almost overwhelm but Ms. Morin tames it without tempering it. This is a book I will keep for another reading as it is full of so much that I love; art, Florence, Michelangelo, love.

    Ms. Morin is expert at drawing out a mystery and keeping the reader turning the pages for wont of knowing what will happen next. She develops her characters slowly, chapter by chapter until you are about ready to scream - then another piece is revealed. I love a book that evokes that kind of emotion. Aurelia is a fantastic character.

    So do yourself a favor and join The King's Agent as he searches for his sculpture. You will have a heck of a good time. And learn a little something along the way.

  • Kathleen Kelly

    I do not know a lot about the Italian Renaissance so I was very eager to read this book. I can say I was not disappointed although it took me a bit to get past the names and places mentioned in this time period of 1500's Italy but that did not deter me at all. Based on real life art collector/thief Battista della Paglia, this novel tells the story of the search for a relic wanted by François, the King of France.

    The clues to this relic are to be found in a tryptich and while Battista is on the se

    I do not know a lot about the Italian Renaissance so I was very eager to read this book. I can say I was not disappointed although it took me a bit to get past the names and places mentioned in this time period of 1500's Italy but that did not deter me at all. Based on real life art collector/thief Battista della Paglia, this novel tells the story of the search for a relic wanted by François, the King of France.

    The clues to this relic are to be found in a tryptich and while Battista is on the search for the first piece of the puzzle he finds himself in a tight situation and Aurelia, the ward of the Marquess of Mantua manages to rescue Battista. Aurelia wants nothing more than to escape her sequestered life and have a bit of fun and adventure, so she takes Battista back to his home in Florence.

    Aurelia joins Battista and his friends in the search for this relic and using their knowledge of the art of the time and the three canticles of Dante’s Divine Comedy…Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise, Battista and Aurelia find themselves on an adventurous and perilous journey that takes them to Palazzo Prato, Grotte di Pastena and Castello della Dragonara.

    The King's Agent is a wonderful historical fiction novel that blends history, art, a bit of the supernatural, love and a passion for beauty. Impeccable research went into the writing of this book and the way it is written pulls you right into the adventure with Battista and Aurelia. The descriptions of the beauty of Rome and in particular the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo himself gives Aurelia a tour, I could almost see the masterpiece painted there. If you love historical fiction like I do then this is the book for you. I give it 5 stars!!

  • Copperfield Review

    This was the first book I’ve read by Donna Russo Morin, and I’ve already downloaded her other books onto my kindle and I can’t wait to read them. Morin has everything I love about historical fiction in this book, from enriching descriptions about what life was life in 16th century Europe to romance to adventure and real life characters. I felt like I was drawn into the time period, and it’s a meaty story, long enough to give a lot of details to keep you enraptured and yet the plot never dragged

    This was the first book I’ve read by Donna Russo Morin, and I’ve already downloaded her other books onto my kindle and I can’t wait to read them. Morin has everything I love about historical fiction in this book, from enriching descriptions about what life was life in 16th century Europe to romance to adventure and real life characters. I felt like I was drawn into the time period, and it’s a meaty story, long enough to give a lot of details to keep you enraptured and yet the plot never dragged and often turned in directions I didn’t expect. I liked that there was the male and female perspective in this book, something I find lacking in a lot of stories where you often only get the female point of view. There’s adventure as Battista pursues his mission, and I loved the love story between Battista and Aurelia because it’s touching. We know early on that there’s something odd about Aurelia, and in the end we discover what her secret is. The King’s Agent is a great combination of historical fiction and fantasy, and I enjoyed learning about real life characters like Michelangelo and Dante as well. As someone who loves art and took a lot of art history classes in college, I loved the focus on the artwork. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a lushly written piece of historical fiction set in the early Renaissance.

  • Arleigh

    Blending fact and fantasy, this fast-paced novel–which can only be described as an articulate historical adventure–Donna Russo Morin brings to life a real historical figure, Battista della Palla. Serving his beloved Florence’s political interests, Battista works as an art dealer for France’s King Francois I. He readily bargains and bribes to collect sought after pieces, but is not above thievery if necessary. The ultimate task the King sets him to—unearthing a secret and powerful triptych—proves

    Blending fact and fantasy, this fast-paced novel–which can only be described as an articulate historical adventure–Donna Russo Morin brings to life a real historical figure, Battista della Palla. Serving his beloved Florence’s political interests, Battista works as an art dealer for France’s King Francois I. He readily bargains and bribes to collect sought after pieces, but is not above thievery if necessary. The ultimate task the King sets him to—unearthing a secret and powerful triptych—proves to be his greatest conquest yet, and the most dangerous.

    With paintings as clues, and the words of Dante as guide, Battista and his band of loyal men find themselves at a villa where the smart and adventurous Lady Aurelia joins in their hunt, becoming an important part of the group and essential to Battista in finding the ultimate relic.

    Though the story is set in Florence, Battista and Aurelia travel to other cities in search of clues, and while in Rome visit Battista’s friend and mentor, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti. Descriptions of the city, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican are minutely detailed, including Michelangelo’s own design of the guard’s uniforms.

    Though we, the reader, do not know of Lady Aurelia’s true identity until the end of the story, she is nonetheless sympathetically written as a likeable and trustworthy character—but it is a bit maddening to wonder where her true loyalties lie. Battista, on the other hand, is completely fleshed out from the start, and admirable as they come. Along with all of Morin’s other books, this is a fantastically written story with beautiful and eloquent prose—that is was partially inspired by Legends of Zelda is not apparent in the writing to this non-gamer, but others may decipher the links while reading.

  • Bookworm

    About:

    Lady Aurelia is a noblewoman under the care of the Marquess of Mantua. Being under watchful eye night and day, she is desperate for freedom and for some adventure. Battista della Paglia is an agent working for King François I of France. He attains what the King asks of him, legally or illegally if need be. He is the King's agent. Battista is now in search of a mysterious sculpture for the King.

    When she finds Battista pillaging her home, Aurelia helps him escape and partners up with him in

    About:

    Lady Aurelia is a noblewoman under the care of the Marquess of Mantua. Being under watchful eye night and day, she is desperate for freedom and for some adventure. Battista della Paglia is an agent working for King François I of France. He attains what the King asks of him, legally or illegally if need be. He is the King's agent. Battista is now in search of a mysterious sculpture for the King.

    When she finds Battista pillaging her home, Aurelia helps him escape and partners up with him in the search for a mysterious sculpture.

    The story then takes twists and turns as Battista and his men, along with Aurelia, find clues to the mystery. Aurelia not only harbors secrets, but she also has knowledge that will help the men in the search.

    Soon enough the group sets off to "Hell", "Purgatory" and "Heaven". Clues are found within paintings and Dante's works are used as a guide as this story takes plenty of twists and turns and keeps the reader good and hooked until the very end.

    My thoughts:

    I found The King's Agent to be an exciting and well written story rich with vivid details.

    I always love reading a great historical that can transport me to another time and place. Adventure, romance and a beautiful setting all come together wonderfully in The King's Agent.

    I have to say the first fifty pages or so were a bit slow for me, but after that the book too right off and I didn't want to put it down.

    For me this book was reminiscent of Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code. There is action, history, danger and mystery within these pages.

    Author Donna Russo Morin weaves art, history and Italy into the storyline perfectly. I felt like I was transported to Florence in the 1500's as I read.

    I enjoyed the quotes from Dante's works at the start of the chapters. Dante's poems are woven into the storyline seamlessly and become a part of the clues for the hunt.

    The supporting characters were well written and I thought Battista's right hand man, Frodo was endearing. He's older, unwed and thinks of Aurelia almost as a daughter.

    I liked both Battista and Aurelia. Battista is cunning, quick and handsome, and as I read I enjoyed learning more about his character.

    Aurelia is up for an adventure and is hiding life changing secrets. She has the knowledge to help Battista and his men find the sculpture. There is an air of mystery about her.

    "Her own fearless audacity had surprised her, though she knew she had been born for more than her life had asked of her thus far."

    p.84, The King's Agent

    I first discovered Donna Russo Morin's work when I read The Secret of the Glass and I must say, she is quickly becoming a go to author for one of my favorite genres.

    I recommend this book to fans of action and historical fiction and especially readers who enjoy stories revolving around art and ancient Italy.

    read my full review here

  • ☕ Kimberly

    The King’s Agent is a historical fiction set in Renaissance Italy with a fantastic twist. The tale is filled with suspense, secret societies, hidden artifacts, romance and political intrigue. Based loosely on the life of Battista della Palla a patriotic plunder and friend to Michelangelo in the sixteenth century this tale captivated me.

    The tale begins when we meet Lady Aurelia, the ward of the Marquess of Mantua. Her life is completely sheltered, guarded, and boring. She longs for adventure, to

    The King’s Agent is a historical fiction set in Renaissance Italy with a fantastic twist. The tale is filled with suspense, secret societies, hidden artifacts, romance and political intrigue. Based loosely on the life of Battista della Palla a patriotic plunder and friend to Michelangelo in the sixteenth century this tale captivated me.

    The tale begins when we meet Lady Aurelia, the ward of the Marquess of Mantua. Her life is completely sheltered, guarded, and boring. She longs for adventure, to see sculptures, paintings, cities and landscapes. When Battista della Palla, a handsome thief from Florence breaks into her home she sees an opportunity for adventure. The tale that unfolds reminded me of the movie National Treasure and Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code. As Battista and Aurelia search for a hidden artifact to save Battista’s beloved Florence and aid King Francois of France they encounter secret societies, enemies, allies and an attraction to one another.

    The character’s in Morin’s novel are well fleshed out and complex. Each chapter reveals more about them. I liked Aurelia and found her to be curious, brave and bright. There is an air of mystery about her, and she does some things that make you wonder whose side she is on. This added a thread of suspense throughout the novel. Battista is handsome, smart and has a fierce loyalty to the king of France. He loves Florence and is good to the men he employees. I enjoyed the way they interacted with one another. We meet Michelangelo and it was one of my favorite scenes. The author portrayed him in such an interesting light. We go inside the Vatican and hear conversations and thoughts of the current church, and its political views. Characters we meet along the way add to the adventure, from the voyeuristic couple with their wild dinner parties; to the mysterious woman Aurelia secretly meets. The relationship between Battista and Aurelia developed slowly and I enjoyed watching this tender romance unfold.

    It is quite apparent that Morin did a lot of research for this novel. I loved the blending of historical fiction and fantasy. I was so impressed with how she wove The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri into the tale, allowing it to reveal clues on their quest. The quest itself was riveting, and action packed as they met danger and death at every corner. I like puzzles, conspiracy theories, secret societies and hidden relics with power and this novel delivers it all. The pace of this tale is slow at times; in part because of the details and world-building. I found myself on Goggle looking up; paintings, people and landmarks in Florence. I also dug up my copy of the Divine Comedy and re-read passages. The attention to detail, the unveiling of the countryside and the challenges within the quest make it well worth the time. I enjoyed the changing perspectives and the way Battista and Aurelia worked together to solve each piece of the quest. The ending reveals Aurelia secrets and wrapped things up nicely. The back of the book contains some interesting information from the author and in itself is worth a read. I found her reasons for the use of certain numbers touching. It is important to note that fans of The Legend of Zelda will see its influences within the quest. Sweet :)

    I want to thank the author for sending me a finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I give the author credit for putting a lot of heart, soul and energy into this story. It has a lot of authentic-feeling details, although I had trouble with the initially slow-moving narrative. I really liked the intricate infusion of

    into the story. I would like to rate this higher, but it was just too hard for me to get into the story initially, and I didn't love the conclusion overall.

    For that reason, I'd have to rate it

    . It's hard when you don't love somethi

    I give the author credit for putting a lot of heart, soul and energy into this story. It has a lot of authentic-feeling details, although I had trouble with the initially slow-moving narrative. I really liked the intricate infusion of

    into the story. I would like to rate this higher, but it was just too hard for me to get into the story initially, and I didn't love the conclusion overall.

    For that reason, I'd have to rate it

    . It's hard when you don't love something someone has written with love. However, I have the feeling that this book will resonate with some readers.

    Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine in the March issue.

    .

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