Tuesday, June 21, 2011


By Surya Reader "Jess"This review is from: Immortal (Paperback) Author Traci L Slatton

This is one of the best books I have ever read, of any time period, by any author! From start to finish, I couldn't put this book down. And for anyone looking for something deeper than your run-of-the-mill cheap, popular thrill - Immortal is definitely for you. This novel, set in 13th century Florence, follows the unnaturally long life of Luca Bastardo, an extraordinary man searching for love and the meaning of life. Luca is not your typical hero. He lives through the most horrible, depraved of sins and goes on to pave his winding path through the exciting worlds of art and alchemy, war and power, the most uplifting love and the agonizing pain of death. Along the way, he makes friends with many famed artists and political figures of the Renaissance. Let me emphasize though that you do NOT need a background in Art History to love this book! Slatton brings one of the most exciting periods of history to life and it stands completely on its own. No one could have created a better depiction of this time. Slatton does an impeccable job of merging a fascinating story with real historical events. And you'll fall in love with each and every character on the way!

This book takes a unique and interesting approach to historical fiction, one I haven't seen carried out with such artistic skill since Richard Powell's "Whom the Gods would Destroy," and that is placing a fictional character in a fantastical yet historically accurate world. Luca, by virtue of his long life, gets to meet and know some of the major figures of the Italian Renaissance, including Giotto, Boticelli, Lorenzo and Cosimo di Medici, and the great Leonardo da Vinci himself. Slatton creates such wonderful, true-to-life characters from these art history icons. I couldn't believe how much I, as the reader, felt for them, completely entrapped in their trials and tribulations. How strongly I loved the young, passionate and deeply intellectual Leonardo! How strongly I hated the brutal and severe Savonarola! And of course there is Luca's inveterate enemy in the Silvano family, but I'll leave that to you all to read...

"Immortal," like all great books, raises a few philosophical questions to the reader and explores them throughout the progression of the novel. Who, or what, is God? If God is all, how do we reconcile the "good" aspects of God with the "bad" ones? Is love the ultimate goal of any life? Luca lives through quite a few wars and participates in many battles over the course of his lifetime. We see Florence go through various ups and downs through his eyes, and we are left with the ultimate paradox between the "grand scheme" and the "individual experience." Is history about the big events, or is it merely the sum of more meaningful, personal experiences? In war, are unnecessary deaths sacrifices for the greater good, or should we take a more humanist approach and do whatever we can to minimize casualties and 'keep the peace?' You can see, this may be a historical fiction novel, but it's very relevant to our world today.

Highly well-written, richly detailed, yet completely readable; filled with history and still a complete page turner, "Immortal" is a must read for, well, everyone! Highly recommended!