Shadow of This World by Nya Rawlyns
When the fate of worlds rests on shifting loyalties and the vagaries of the human heart, will time and history slip into shadow?
1515 Venice, a city of art, music and commerce, wealthy, greedy, whose rulers engage in war as simply an extension of commerce by other means. Cosimo de’ Medici, capo of an ancient family with uncommon power, ruler of Florence, maker of kings and popes, with secrets and plans, orchestrating and plotting as the Holy Roman Empire stands poised to change the face of the continent, and even the world.
Three brothers with uncommon gifts: Stefano, Antonio and Nicolo de’ Medici, Veluria: an operative of the Sisterhood and Andreas, a cleric from the competing Council–strangers out of time and out of place–haunt a chaotic shadow world where knowledge is power. Tasked with averting disaster in a future falling prey to disintegration and yet another apocalypse, two operatives seek independently to stay events, to manipulate, control and direct, yet neither truly understands the scope of the looming tragedy, the shifting loyalties and matters of the heart, the acts of desperation that will change history, and the roles each will play.
Venice, a city of beauty whose canals string like pearls through her heart, a city on the edge, poised for a tumultuous plunge into a cavernous maw, indistinct, hazy, falling into …The Shadow of This World.Historical Medieval
Heat Level: 3
Reviewer rating: 4-4.5 STARS= Not quite perfect but pretty darned close!
Date of Release : April 02, 2012
Publisher: XoXo Publishing(TM)
Antonio stood quietly by the doorway, cataloguing and evaluating each guest, some of whom he did not recognize. His cousins, Guilio and Benedetto, and several of the managers of the various mills from his father’s vast holdings in Florence and the nearby Duchy of Modena to the north and the Republic of Siena bordering the southern reaches, made up the bulk of the assemblage. He was uncomfortable that so many of his father’s supporters should risk being in one spot without suitable protection, although he discerned the presence of several of the Papàl Guards stationed surreptitiously both inside and at several points behind the domicilio elegante. Protection from invasion by way of the canal seemed well in hand.
“It is good to see you, Brother,” a deep voice whispered in his right ear. Antonio nodded his head once, his body vibrating with excitement. This was an unexpected pleasure.
“Nico,” Tonio grunted roughly, “what the hell are you doing here? Didn’t you get your fill of boot licking at Maximillian’s court?”
Nico smiled and moved close to his taller brother. “It’s not boots I’m licking these days, big brother. I am after bigger prey than that petty despot.”
Antonio swung to embrace Nico, pounding him on the back with so much enthusiasm the smaller man grunted and pulled away.
“It’s been too long, Nico. Are you staying with Father? When did you get in? And why…?”
Tonio’s questions exploded in a rush of affection. As much as he loved his younger brother, his middle brother, only five years his junior, had earned his undying respect and admiration. Like Stefano, the man was canny in the ways of the court, using the Medicis’ gifts, and their own special shared lineage of powers, to ferret out intrigue with such astonishing clarity that their father has assigned him to permanent residence on both the Spanish and the Habsburg courts without the yoke of marriage to constrain his movement and shifting loyalties.
“I’m not staying, Tonio. In fact I must hie to the docks and pick up passage to Castile. I leave soonest.” He drew his brother deep into the recesses of an alcove. “There is someone here of interest, Tonio. Be wary, for there is great power, power I do not understand.”
Tonio looked sharply at his brother. “Where?”
Nico glanced to the ornately carved banister and the elegant stairway leading to the living quarters of the Courtesan whose house had been conscripted by the Cardinal and his retinue.
“Upstairs, Brother.” Tonio tried to brush past his muscular sibling but Nico grabbed his arm and restrained him. “I am not joking, Tonio. Be careful.”
“Sono sempre attento, fratello, you can trust me to take care.”
“Then I must be off. Give Father my regards. I shall report when I have the details I need.”
“Travel safely, Nico.”
“Ciao. And Tonio?”
“If you hurt him again, I will not tolerate it, do you understand?”
Antonio’s face flamed with shame. He had hoped his brother would not get wind of his indiscretion but there had never been secrets between them. Their actions, feelings, intentions—all an open book, like a single mind sharing two different bodies.
“I promise on my life, Nico,” Tonio murmured as his brother strode through the door. It was a vow he would keep, no matter what the cost.
Reviewed by: Kathleen Kelly
Shadow of This World by Nya Tawlyns is a historical romantic story that takes place in two separate worlds, Venice of the early 1500’s and a shadow world where events in the past will affect the present. Veluria has been sent back to the medieval city of Venice by the Sisterhood to infiltrate the Medici family, the father, Pope Cosimo and his three sons, Stefano, Antonio and Nico. One of them is the key that is needed to make sure that the world stays on track if you will. There is a problem though in that there is another operative with his own agenda and he struggles with his own evil emotions. All these characters certainly take the reader on a wild ride which at times for me was a bit confusing but once I figured out what was going on and why, I found myself turning the pages eager to see what happens at the end. A very well written and character driven novel with steamy sexual undertones. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it for the reader of historical romance.
* At the time of this review, Amazon Kindle price for this novel is $6.99
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