CRUEL MUSIC (Historical-Italy-1740) – VG
Myers, Beverle Graves – 3rd in series
Poisoned Pen Press, 2006, US Hardcover – ISBN1590582306
Pope Clement XII is dying and Venetian Senator Antonio Montorio is determined that his brother, Cardinal Stefano Montorio be the next Pope. To this end, the Senator has arrested the brother of Venetian castrati Tito Amato as leverage forcing Tito to Rome and into the household of Cardinal Fabiani on whom Tito is to spy and influence Fabiani to support Montorio once the old Pope dies. But Tito ends up a pawn of Fabiani as well when a servant is murdered and Tito is forced to dispose of the body, setting him up to be identified as the murderer. The only light is Tito’s situation is his reunion with Luca Cavalieri, the woman he loves.
This was a fascinating book. It brings the reader to a period in history where Catholicism, is in conflict with both paganism and science. But it is also a look at the politics of the time, both secular and within the Church and the blurred line between them. The character of Tito is a sympathetic one who is forced into an undesirable role in order to save his brother. It is fascinating to see how the character has developed with the series as has his relationship with Luca. The descriptions of 18th Century Italy are wonderfully done and you see the contrasts of the wealthy and powerful versus the ordinary and poor. I highly recommend this series.