By Michael Ennis
Pub. Date: September 11, 2012
Buy Link: Amazon
Juan, Duke of Gandia, was murdered while on his way to visit his love, Damiata, causing Pope Alexander VI to become emotionally drained as Juan was his favorite son. In another twist, Damiata also went missing the night of Juan's murder, having witnessed her lover's death.
Five years go by and the Pope Alexander VI sends Rodrigo Borgia to find Damiata and bring her to him. The Pope believes that she is responsible for his son's death, but gives her a chance to prove her innocence by finding the real killer. Thinking that she will just run off and hide again, he takes her son Giovanni as leverage.
Damiata heads to Imola, where she finds out there have been a string of similar murders. The bodies have been buried throughout the city and the bodies' parts were specifically arranged to resemble a geometric design. Soon she meets a Florentine diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli who assists her efforts in finding the killer or killers. Now here is another twist, the one and only Leonardo DaVinci, the famous Renaissance painter, is also investigating the murders and DaVinci eventually teams up with them.
I have to be honest that it took forever to finish reading The Malice of Fortune. I kept picking the book up, reading a few pages and then I went on to another book. The murder plot and the blending of fiction and historical characters was well done, but I didn't care for the way the narrations (there are two) were written and the pacing was a slightly too slow. I guessed early on who the murderer was and I was right, so there was no suspense of the killer's identity. I did like that the author added one of my favorite painters, Leonardo DaVinci, to the story. The Malice of Fortune is not a great read, but it is not a bad one either. If you are into the Renaissance years or like reading mysteries, then you'll probably enjoy reading it.
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from Doubleday.