A NAME IN BLOOD by MATT REES.
For the ruling Borghese family, Rome is a place of Grand Plazzos and frescoed cathedrals. For the lowly artist Caravaggio, it is a place of rough bars, knife fights, and grubby whores. Until he is commissioned to paint the pope ....
Soon, Caravaggio has gained entry into the Borghese family's inner circle and becomes the most celebrated artist in Rome. But when he falls for Lena, a low-born fruit-seller, and paints her into his Madonna series as a simple peasant woman, Italian society is outraged. Discredited as an artist, but unwilling to retreat his vision of the woman he loves, Caravaggio is forced into a duel - and murders his adversary.
Even his powerful patrons cannot protect him from a death sentence. So Caravaggio flees to Malta, where in order to be pardoned, he must undergo rigorous training of the Knights of Malta. His paintings continue to speak of his love for Lena. But before he can return to her, as a Knight and a noble, Caravaggio, the most famous artist in Italy - simply disappears......
..... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): The boy sat in the dark.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (213): He passed on all the monstrosity of the world to me, even as he went to his peace.
MY THOUGHTS: A novel based on the life and subsequent disappearance of renowned 17th century Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi (Caravaggio) A Name In Blood takes a colourful look at life (and indeed death) as lived by many at that time whilst at the same time exploring what may well have happened to the artist.
Alas not altogether to my tastes, I feel that A Name In Blood is a story that will probably be enjoyed more by those with a deep love or at least a great appreciation of art as the author seems to concentrate more on this aspect of the story than any other.
Nevertheless, a wonderfully colourful descriptive work, Matt Rees paints a truly magical picture of events whether or not he is describing the methods used by Caravaggio , a street fight or a bar room scene which makes this a worthwhile read.
DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine. I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.
Whoops! I should have mentioned this will not be published until the 1st of July though it can be pre-ordered on Amazon now.