The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan
|The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan|
|Category: Literary Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: A rich renaissance drama that packs hidden meaning into a pacey plot, The Phoenix of Florence is evocative, enjoyable and endlessly readable.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 349||Date: February 2019|
|Publisher: Allison & Busby|
|External links: Author's website|
Deep in the Tuscan countryside of fifteenth century Italy, Onoria survives a massacre that destroys her family and home. Alone in the forest, she meets a band of soldiers who, believing her to be a boy train and develop her – and the determined Onoria becomes a mercenary – desperate to avoid any situation in which she may feel vulnerable again. Along the way, she meets ex-soldier Celavini, whose journey to Florence sees him investigating two brutal murders. As he digs further and uncovers links to his own family history, Celavini must revisit the past he shares with Onoria, in the hope that they can lay the ghosts of their shared history to rest, before it's too late...
Author Philip Kazan has previously written seven novels – three under his own name, and four under the nom-de-plume of Pip Vaughan Hughes. Born in London, Kazan grew up on Dartmoor. After spells living in New York and Vermont, Philip is now settled on the edge of Dartmoor with his wife and three children.
Renaissance Italy is a period that's immediately evocative for many of us – a golden age for painting, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and science. Combined with a country renowned for beauty and passion, and one is immediately transported to a heady and romantic time period. Kazan is aware of that – and there certainly is beauty and romance to be found in The Phoenix of Florence - not least in the elegant, velvety prose that Kazan utilises, but he's an author not afraid to show the darker, grittier side of this period, with a story of death and survival that takes the reader on a fascinating journey through this world, accompanied by the fascinating character of Onoria. Determined, admirable and endlessly readable, her journey leads the plot along at a considerable pace, and she's a character who, in spite of initially being bound by the conventions and morals of the period in which she exists, soon reaches out to the reader and shows herself to be a thoroughly modern character – meaning that her journey is one that I image will provide a great deal of emotional impact for many a reader.
A gripping tale told with considerable skill, The Phoenix of Florence is an evocative read told in beautiful, memorable prose – and one that, whilst pushing forward with a well-paced plot, still finds time to closely examine both the power dynamics between men and women, and, with Onoria, the fluidity of gender itself. As evocative and enjoyable as I expected, but supplemented by many layers of meaning hidden throughout the wonderfully rich prose, The Phoenix of Florence is a beautiful, memorable read that will leave the reader with memories of Italy and the ever intriguing Onoria.
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy - for further reading I recommend Sons of the Blood by Robyn Young - another historical read that combines tight plotting with crafted prose and unexpected depth to make for hugely satisfying reading.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Phoenix of Florence by Philip Kazan at Amazon.com.
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