The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When his brother is killed, Cosimo de Medici declares war on the Lorraines. Too bad a close associate of the Medici family, Lorenzo, protege to Galileo, is in love with Lucia, daughter of Duke Lorraine...
I got this from Angry Robot via Netgalley.
In an alternate world resembling 16th century Italy, a plague has ravaged the world and much of humanity takes refuge in the Walled City where the Medicis and the Lorraines vie for superiority. The Medicis have Galileo and the Lorraines have Leonardo.
There was a lot of enjoyable stuff going on in this. While the basic plot resembles Romeo and Juliet, there's a whole lot of other things going on, like arcane science practiced by Galileo and Leonardo. The politics of the Walled City are explored, including the plague victims, and the nature of reality is touched upon. The mysterious Shadow Master and the Nameless One pull the strings from the shadows. I wasn't really sure where the story was going to go.
The writing was really good. There was some unexpected humor and Cormick painted a vivid picture of his world. I liked that The Shadow Master rose above it's Romeo and Juliet roots.
However, I'm not precisely sure what actually happened in the later parts of the book. I kind of understood what the machines of the ancients did but I found the ending really muddy. I liked parts of the book quite a bit but it lost me near the end. Three out of five stars.
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