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The Prince's Doom by David Blixt
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Series: Book Four, Star Cross'd Series
Genre: Historical Fiction
READ AN EXCERPT.
The long-awaited explosive fourth novel in the Star-Cross'd series! Verona has won its war with Padua, but lost its war with the stars. The young prodigy Cesco now turns his troubled brilliance to darker purposes, embracing a riotous life and challenging not only the lord of Verona and the Church, but the stars themselves. Trying desperately to salvage what's left of his spirit, for once Pietro Alaghieri welcomes the plots and intrigues of the Veronese court, hoping they will shake the young man out of his torpor. But when the first body falls, it becomes clear that this new game is deadly, one that will doom them all.
Praise for David Blixt'For anyone who has yet to read David's novels, you are about to hit the literary lottery. Yes, he's that good.' --Sharon Kay Penman, The Sunne In Splendour
'David Blixt is a master of historical fiction. Dramatic, vivid, superbly researched, this series captures Renaissance Italy in all its heady glamour and lethal intrigue.' --C.W. Gortner, The Tudor Conspiracy
'This is one of the most exciting, and satisfying, reads that I have immersed myself in for a long time. David Blixt is a gem of a writer.' --Helen Hollick, The Pendragon Chronicles
The Star Cross'd SeriesBased on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, the Star-Cross'd Series is a tale of wars won, friendships lost, and conspiracies both mortal and stellar, an epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett.
Titles in the Star Cross'd SeriesBook One: Master of Verona
Book Two: Voice of the Falconer
Book Three: Fortune's Fool
Book Four: The Prince's Doom
~~~~~~~~EXCERPT from The Prince's Doom ~~~~~~~~~
“Otto! I didn’t know you were in these parts!”
“Good to see you, my lord,” said Otto, rising to bow gravely.
“Good to be seen,” answered Cesco brightly. “But you must call me Ser François now – it is François in Burgundy, yes? – and remove your hat.”
Otto’s mouth twitched. “If you want my hat, take it.”
“Would that I could, but I’d be afraid of frosting your hair with snow when you departed. I cause too many grey hairs already.” Cesco’s eyes darted between Cangrande and the Burgundian. “Dare I ask the news?”
“What do you not dare?” growled Bailardino.
Otto answered in an even tone. “Nothing of war. I am only a messenger.”
“Nothing of war? Then how are your men to keep their skills sharp? I shall have to visit the camp and put them through their paces.”
“You would be most welcome, Ser François,” said Otto. “If only to allow Yuri and Fabio time to recover from their respite in town. Fabio’s arm cannot carry a shield for at least a month.”
“Indeed, François,” interjected Cangrande, “your sport seems more dangerous than my wars.”
“Because my sport has higher stakes.”
Otto was not unaware of the daggers in the counter-talk, but did not mind placing his body between the sharpened edges. “Speaking of sport, my young lord, our last hunt has become legendary. Morando Bevilaqua still talks of how your arrow jostled his on the way towards the hart. He says you owe him a chance to regain his honour at the hunt.”
“He wants to take my honour? What am I, a maid?”
“A lord with the wiles of a virtuous maid in an armed camp.”
“In your camp, that’s a wily maid indeed. Well, tell Bevilaqua I shall come, and he can attempt to take my maidenhead.” Even the impassive Otto could not restrain himself from laughing aloud, while Cangrande drank deeply and Bail scowled.
“Pardon, Nuncle.” Crossing past Pietro to the octagonal table, Cesco helped himself to a goblet of wine and poured himself languidly into another chair, exactly matching the Scaliger’s pose. “I take it Otto’s news is dire. Has he had a better offer? If not, can I make one?”
“You cannot afford me,” said Otto.
Cangrande offered a grimacing smile. “Otto knows to whom his loyalty is owed. No, it’s Tempesta. He’s on his way here with a flag of truce, in the company of your cyclopean friend.”
Cesco frowned. “Tharwat? Is that where he’s gone?”
Pietro blanched, but Cangrande clarified at once. “Berthold. Though you’re right, we seem to be collecting one-eyed acquaintances. Is it a statement on the myopia of our enemies? Their lack of vision?”
“I thought Tharwat’s latest affliction was more an ironic expression of Divine Will. He’s been peering into the future so long, he was bound to lose an eye. Our own Tiresias, or at least half of one. ‘Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich, he will grope his way toward a foreign soil, a stick tapping before him step by step.’ But not even Sophocles tortured the ears of his hearers with such a voice!”
Cangrande laughed even as he shook his head. “I’m a terrible person. Or you are. You see what this means?”
“That Ludwig is trying to out-maneuver you?” said Cesco in a bored voice. “Yes, it’s obvious. Tap tap tap. Tempesta comes here under safe-conduct with the Emperor, whom you cannot defy, and declares his independence. Berthold allows you two to wrangle with each other, then steps in with the stunning hammer. He forces Tempesta to submit, not to you but direct to Ludwig. You’re granted Treviso not through feat of arms but by Ludwig’s good will. You’ll have your title, but in a manner that robs you of the victory. I had no idea the Pax Verona bothered him so much.”
“That, at least, is gratifying,” admitted Cangrande. “He sees me as important enough to keep down.”
“He needs Verona,” said Cesco. “But he does not trust you. I’d say not to take it personally, but it’s personal. You’re far too skilled at wielding power for him to feel easy giving you any more. Which, I imagine, is why Rupert ingratiates himself with me. I am wooed from all corners. Except this one.”
“That’s the trick of wooing,” said Cangrande. “Make the wooed come to you, and then there is no question of consent.”
“I know that trick. And Ludwig does as well, that much I know. He will make any power unpalatable to you, but leave it there for future generations that are more pliable.”
“Shall I just step aside now?” asked Cangrande in grand fashion, rising and offering his seat. “Or do you want it all baked into a proper cake first?”
“You must be drunk,” replied Cesco dismissively. “Why would I want your duties? Remember, I’m the irresponsible one. Let me enjoy the last of my minority. When I’m a man, I’ll shoulder a man’s burdens. Besides, when have I ever been called pliable?”
Cangrande studied his heir. “Six months of idleness, and then what?”
Cesco quaffed the last of his wine. “Then Treviso.”
“And after that?”
“What, should I angle to lose an eye as well? Who knows what the future holds? There’s been too much scrying and spying, crying and plying. Indulge your enemies. But if it makes you less uneasy, Pater, when Tempesta comes I will remove myself. Otto, I accept your invitation. My Rakehells – how I like that name! – will sojourn at your camp.”
Cangrande frowned. “Taking Rupert with you? What if I desire you both to remain here and blunt Berthold?”
Slapping his hands on his thighs, Cesco leapt up. “Federigo! Padua! The very ground under our feet! Must I do everything?” With that he stalked from the office without a glance for either Pietro or Bailardino, both of whom were frowning, if for different reasons. Only Pietro followed him.
Cangrande made to pour himself another drink. Before it reached his lips, a phrase the boy had uttered bubbled to the surface of his brain. He smiled. “Indulge your enemies. I’ll think I shall do just that. When is Tempesta arriving?”
“A week, I think. San Pompeius’ Day, or thereabouts.”
“Pompeius. Fitting for a pompous puss like Tempesta. Tullio, tell those musicians to gather their fellow performers. They’ll not lament their ill-usage by Verona’s knights after this. How does Petruchio put it? I shall kill them with kindness.”
Buy the BookAmazon
About the AuthorAuthor and playwright David Blixt's work is consistently described as "intricate," "taut," and "breathtaking." A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS'D series, including THE MASTER OF VERONA, VOICE OF THE FALCONER, FORTUNE'S FOOL, and THE PRINCE?S DOOM) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY'S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history. As the Historical Novel Society said, "Be prepared to burn the midnight oil. It's well worth it." Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, David describes himself as "actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order."
For more information please visit David Blixt's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
The Prince's Doom Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, March 16
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, March 18
Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, March 19
Excerpt at Becky on Books
Friday, March 20
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Saturday, March 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, March 23
Review at Griperang's Bookmarks
Tuesday, March 24
Guest Post & Giveaway at Griperang's Bookmarks
Wednesday, March 25
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, March 27
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Monday, March 30
Excerpt at Buried Under Books
Tuesday, March 31
Spotlight at A Book Geek
Wednesday, April 1
Excerpt & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, April 2
Review at Quirky Book Reviews
Guest Post at Books and Benches
Friday, April 3
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection