Ritual of Fire set in Florence – David V Bishop
This is the third book in the stunning Cesare Aldo series and you don’t have to read them in order but you get such a better picture of relationships between characters of course. This novel was set in both Florence and the Tuscan mountains, involves several large mountains on hills and some dubious characters hanging around in the shadows….
Boarding Pass Information: Florence
Author guide: David V Bishop
Genre: historical fiction
Food and drink to accompany: Italian food of course!
This really is shaping up to be one of THE most immersive and compelling historical mystery series that I have ever read, I LOVED the first two novels and this was is my favourite I think. From the nunnery of book two, I found myself lost in the remote Tuscan hills, mansions on hills with vineyards all around. A thief is found lurking in the opening chapters and our hero Cesare Aldo is now working this area. He was in Florence’s police in the city but found himself demoted onto the sidelines.
Talkng of Florence, the action soon moves there. BAM the first scene is that of a burning man, hanging from a gibbet. Such a powerful and gut- wrenching scene. I could smell it, it was that realistic. Horrific but what a start to a story!
The story centres around a (true life) story which makes it all the more horrific. Heavily fictionlised of course but it makes me shiver when a story is inspired by real horror. There used to be a Monk by the name of Savonola who was burnt 40 years ago. With this latest act of violence, it is feared that someone or something is back t0 haunt the city.
There’s more horrific deaths to come – all rich men with dark secrets to hide. Carol Strocchi who Aldo used to work with is on the cas. However, Aldo realises that he can help as the case encroaches onto his patch, remote as it is. The two men are not friends anymore but I was pleased to see Strocchi’s wife having the common sense necessary to bring them back together in some way/
The relationship between Strocchi and Aldo is a great one to read about. So much depth to both of them. I still feel sorry for Aldo not being able to be with his lover – the two men are perfect for one another!
The complexity of politics and the legal system in Florence is nicely examined and explored. I thought the Tudor court was full of intrigue but Henry VIII could have learnt a thing or two from this lot. The rich men of the story – Ruggerio and others are awful characters but ones you can’t stop reading about. The castles, the Tuscan hills, the greed behind those walls! Utterly fascinating!
I have to say that the writing, pace and tone of this book is what I also admire about this series. It’s never heavy going, has a gripping series of events and just leaves you feeling as if you really have travelled back to 1530s Florence.
I’d go if I could stay with Aldo and Saul!