Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
The King's Agent - Donna Russo Morin This is a romp of a novel. The story literally bounces along, bops happily through Florence and Italy in search of mysterious piece of sculpture of immense importance, following clues from Dante's Divina Commedia, following clues in paintings that may or may not indicate UFOs. And yet, while it sounds a bit laughable and weird, it all kind of fits together and was, in the end, a great deal of fun.Set in 1500s Florence, the story follows Battista della Palla, a Florentine patriot who steals art to keep Florence free. When he receives a mysterious request from the King of France to locate an even more mysterious sculpture, he comes across Lady Aurelia, protected ward of the Marquess of Mantua. Educated and longing for freedom, Aurelia allies herself with Battista and joins him in his search for the sculpture.I suppose the flavor of this novel is 16th century Indiana Jones. While reading, I was reminded of Emilio Salgari, Zorro, and Errol Flynn movies. The playful thief-hero practically winks at the reader with each daring theft, and there's this overabundance of masculinity among the thief's band of co-thieves that begs to be slashed. It's campy, but what can I say? I love me some camp!It took me some time to really get in to the story; the feel was a bit too bombastic for my tastes: first a theft! and a mischievous-but-honorable thief hero! and his adorably rascally and masculine crew! and a mysterious imprisoned woman! But about 60 pages in or so, I think the story settled in a bit and I got used to Morin's writing style, and from that point, I was sucked in. The novel requires some suspension of disbelief and a willingness to not be a historical stickler (the heroine's behavior felt a little too romance novel-y feisty for me, a bit like Tangled's Rapunzel all grown up) but much like The DaVinci Code or the Indiana Jones movies, doing so allows for a delightfully silly, engrossing ride.