The King's Agent

The King's Agent

by Donna Russo Morin
4.2 7

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The King's Agent 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How to sum up a book such as The King's Agent with mere words? The book has all the elements of what I consider to be great fiction. Adventure, mystery, love, and mysticism. And to speak of my opinions without giving the story away will be quite a feat in itself, but I shall attempt to do it justice without revealing too much. Set in the 16th cenury, in the twilight of the Renaissance, The King's Agent tells the story of a quest for an object of power that would be at the heart of the demise of mankind. Battista, who is loyal to his benefactor, King Francois I of France, and also to his beloved home of Florence, embarks on this quest with a clear idea of the outcome. But he is soon to learn that there is no clear outcome and the circumstances surrounding the obtaining of this object are shrouded in danger and mystery. As I was reading the sections where dangerous obstacles had to be overcome for Battista to reach his goal, my mind kept going to the Indiana Jones films. That is the kind of adventure the reader experiences in The King's Agent. Talk about a thrill! To add to the mystery, we have the character of Aurelia who is an enigma, to be sure. Everyone who encounters her can feel that there is something different about her, but her mystery is kept secret, thankfully, until the very end. What is present in the character of Aurelia is a resolve to complete her destiny, a destiny not of her making. She is a brave woman who accepts her fate and ultimately sacrifices her own happiness for the good of all. Finally, I must touch on the historical aspects of this book. Wonderful was the introduction of the stories of Dante and the presence of Michelangelo himself in the story. The historical detail is so well researched and interesting. I found myself on Google several times while reading, wanting right then and there to learn more about the people and places I was reading about. I must say that Ms. Morin is a talent in the historical fiction genre. I have To Serve a King is on my review pile and so I must get to reading it soon, as well as her other titles. Her books will remain a sought after commodity for my home library. In conclusion, I must not forget the love story between Battista and Aurelia. Their love is inspiring and breathtaking. The sacrifice they have to make and their reconciliation to the fact speaks of a very true love indeed. So I leave you with a favorite passage from Dante which Battista whispers to Aurelia, " 'lady, you in whom my hope gains strength, you who, for my salvation, have allowed your footsteps to be left in Hell, in all the things that I have seen, I recognize the grace and benefit that I, depending upon your power and goodness, have received.' "
dolleygurl More than 1 year ago
What starts out as a seemingly standard historical fiction novel quickly turns into more of an adventure novel in a historical setting. This was a new sort of twist in the HF genre and certainly for Morin’s novels in general – and it was an amazingly fun ride! Our hero and heroine set out on an epic adventure to find a relic of some extraordinary power for the king of France. To ultimately get to this relic they will have to face tests of strength, speed, power, stamina, emotions and many more challenges along the way. The author points out that two of the inspirations behind this novel are Dante’s The Divine Comedy, which is explicitly known while reading, and the video game series, Zelda. If you are not a video game aficionado you will not recognize any references to the video game, so don’t be concerned that it will cause to you miss out on something or won’t be to your interest. But, for those of us, me included, who are quite familiar with the game series you will notice that the format of the plot very much feels like a video game. There were times while I was reading where I remember thinking, “I remember doing that!” It was quite the multilayered experience and I can certainly understand why this was an inspiration. If you are not familiar with this video game series, I would compare the plot in some ways with The Da Vinci Code in the regard that you are looking for clues that are hidden in plain sight which will lead you to the next item of importance. In regard to The Divine Comedy I do not have much experience, except knowing the general concept of his work, but the novel actually helped me to have a new experience with the work. I have a lifetime goal to eventually read Dante’s work. There is a requirement at some points where you have to suspend reality in this novel. This is especially true for those of us who read a lot of historical fiction when it tends to follow a set sort of path anchored in historical detail. The novel is certainly historical fiction, as the events that take place are set within the historical events, people, and setting, however there are some elements that sort of defy the historical formula. Again, a good thing, but just a heads up. Morin chooses to set this novel in various prominent cities in Italy – Florence, Mantua, Rome – however for some reason I expected it to be set in France. I guess with the back cover text referring to King Francois I of France and not specifically stating Italy I got that stuck in my head. That being said, I loved the world created by the author. Everything stood out in vivid detail – and this is especially true of the artworks, which play a prominent role in this novel. If the art was not given a depth of definition I do not think the plot would have come off as well. Another great outing from Donna Russo Morin – I can’t wait to read more of her work.
Marcie77 More than 1 year ago
The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin is a historical fiction novel set during the 16th century in Italy. It is based on the real life art thief, Battista della Palla. Battista works for The King of France, Francois I. During a trip to 'acquire' a particular piece of art he runs into Aurelia. Aurelia has lived a very sheltered and mysterious life. She helps Battista escape with the condition that she accompany him. Battista is desperate so he agrees. Battista and Aurelia have great chemistry from the beginning of the book. Battista takes Aurelia home with him. Aurelia won't sit back and stay at home. She wants to help Battista solve an artistic mystery that might help France. Together, with the help of Battista's lively crew, and a poem by the infamous Dante, they traipse across Italy on an adventure of a life time. Battista is charming, loyal, and clever. Aurelia is an intriguing character. The way her character unfolds during this novel is compelling. This story has quite a handful of characters including Battista's loyal friends. The King's Agent is a cross between the Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones with endearing characters that will captivate you. The Italian landscape makes a perfect backdrop to this book. It has everything from adventure to romance. The King's Agent by Donna Russo Morin is very entertaining. It is an epic adventure that was a joy to read.
Meg-ABookishAffair More than 1 year ago
This book has a great mix of history, mystery, and romance. It's told from the point of view of Battista, who is sent to Italy to look for a mysterious relic by the King of France. I feel like I don't read too many historical fiction books from the gentlemen's point of view (I wonder why that is?) so this book was a nice change of pace from that perspective. Lady Aurelia is a cool character for a book about this time period. Even though she's a woman, she's independent and she's smart. She doesn't seem like she'd tolerate being pushed around. I know that women back in this time really didn't always have a lot of choices in their life but Lady Aurelia seems to defy convention in that way. I love it! I loved, loved, loved that the artist Michaelangelo has a starring role in this book. I'm a huge fan of his work and this book is particularly timely with the news story going around that art historians may have found one of Michaelangelo's paintings behind another painting (How cool is that). I didn't know much about Michaelangelo's private life and we the readers kind of get to see some of that from Battista since he's a lifelong friend of Michaelangelo's. I also love how in order to solve the book's grand mystery, Battista and Lady Aurelia follow clues from Dante's Divine Comedy. I thought it was a really cool touch. Even if you have not read the Divine Comedy, you will have no trouble following along with the mystery. It's been a long time since I've read the Divine Comedy (I think since high school) but the story is familiar to us through cultural references that it works really well. Morin does a good job of weaving the story together. Bottom line: This book has a little of something for historical fiction lovers of all stripes.
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
Lady Aurelia is a noblewoman under the care of the Marquess of Mantua. Being under watchful eye night and day, she is desperate for freedom and for some adventure. Battista della Paglia is an agent working for King François I of France. He attains what the King asks of him, legally or illegally if need be. He is the King's agent. Battista is now in search of a mysterious sculpture for the King. When she finds Battista pillaging her home, Aurelia helps him escape and partners up with him in the search for a mysterious sculpture. The story then takes twists and turns as Battista and his men, along with Aurelia, find clues to the mystery. Aurelia not only harbors secrets, but she also has knowledge that will help the men in the search. Soon enough the group sets off to "Hell", "Purgatory" and "Heaven". Clues are found within paintings and Dante's works are used as a guide as this story takes plenty of twists and turns and keeps the reader good and hooked until the very end. I found The King's Agent to be an exciting and well written story rich with vivid details. I always love reading a great historical that can transport me to another time and place. Adventure, romance and a beautiful setting all come together wonderfully in The King's Agent. I have to say the first fifty pages or so were a bit slow for me, but after that the book too right off and I didn't want to put it down. For me this book was reminiscent of Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code. There is action, history, danger and mystery within these pages. Author Donna Russo Morin weaves art, history and Italy into the storyline perfectly. I felt like I was transported to Florence in the 1500's as I read. I enjoyed the quotes from Dante's works at the start of the chapters. Dante's poems are woven into the storyline seamlessly and become a part of the clues for the hunt. The supporting characters were well written and I thought Battista's right hand man, Frodo was endearing. He's older, unwed and thinks of Aurelia almost as a daughter. I liked both Battista and Aurelia. Battista is cunning, quick and handsome, and as I read I enjoyed learning more about his character. Aurelia is up for an adventure and is hiding life changing secrets. She has the knowledge to help Battista and his men find the sculpture. There is an air of mystery about her. I first discovered Donna Russo Morin's work when I read The Secret of the Glass and I must say, she is quickly becoming a go to author for one of my favorite genres. I recommend this book to fans of action and historical fiction and especially readers who enjoy stories revolving around art and ancient Italy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Takes historical fiction to the next level...adventure, paranormal, art, a touch of's all in here. Wonderful
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Battista della Palla would do anything to help his beloved Florence and has aided the cause by stealing artifacts to give to the King of France, François. This time the King wants an artifact that might just be beyond Battista's expertise. When he finds himself in trouble, Lady Aurelia comes to the rescue. Longing for adventure and the opportunity to live life, Lady Aurelia demands that she be included in the task of finding the mysterious artifact. However, Lady Aurelia has some secrets of her own. Battista and Aurelia finds themselves on a whirlwind adventure and with the help of historical side characters, they put their knowledge of Dante's Divine Comedy to good use and hope to find the most powerful artifact of all. This book certainly takes the reader on quite an adventure. I had not previously heard of Battista della Palla but I found myself intrigued by the patriotic thief who had many complexities. While I initially found Lady Aurelia to be more straight forward, I soon learned that I had underestimated her which drew me even deeper into the story. I loved how Ms. Morin was able to weave in much history and include small details about these real life characters. These details never took away from or slowed down the action and served as an added bonus to a great story. The research is evident and I found myself in constant awe of Ms. Morin's hard work. This is an adventure historical fiction story that has supernatural elements that might take the reader by surprised. I didn't see the ending coming at all, but I certainly respect Ms. Morin's creativity. There are plenty of details that make this a more dense read, but they really do add to the story and set the stage for a fantastic journey. Overall, I recommend this to those who enjoy a a good historical fiction read with some action and supernatural craziness thrown in.