Official Review: The Laureate by Ken Tentarelli

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Post Reply
User avatar
Julie Petitbon
Posts: 234
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 01:10
2019 Reading Goal: 30
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 1870
Favorite Author: J.K. Rowling
Currently Reading: Forgotten by the Shn
Bookshelf Size: 601
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-julie-petitbon.html
Latest Review: Adventures of a Rideshare Driver by Charles Campise
fav_author_id: 1778

Official Review: The Laureate by Ken Tentarelli

Post by Julie Petitbon » 06 May 2019, 16:22

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Laureate" by Ken Tentarelli.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The Laureate by Ken Tentarelli introduces the reader to Nico Argenti, an enthusiatic and idealistic young man who has recently graduated from law school. It is August of 1464, shortly after the death of Cosimo Medici, and Nico travels home to put his degree to use in Florence. While waiting for his application and subsequent magistrate appointment, Nico learns that there is much political unrest in Florence. Many leaders of the Republic believe that the Medici family is too powerful and that their control must end. However, these leaders appear less interested in the good of the Republic and more interested in their own political gain.

Bartolomeo Scala, a Florentine Chancellor, recruits Nico to spy on the wealthy and powerful suspects who threaten the political future of Florence. Scala is certain that the leaders of the Republic are planning to violently usurp power. He heard rumors of a possible assassination attempt, but the assassin and the target remain unclear. Nico, eager to assist in this puzzle, uses his legal knowledge and knowledge of Florentine people and politics to unravel the mystery. Can Nico unveil the murderous plot and help bring peace to Florence?

One of my favorite lines in the book is, “When big men throw rocks at each other, small men get hit with stones.” This line, spoken by Nico’s hard-working cousin, reveals a lot about Nico and why he feels compelled to help Scala. Nico is a moral young lawyer who is loyal to the integrity of the Republic, and he knows that some of the leaders will do anything to gain control. He, like Scala, does not want to see the people of Florence suffer because of an insidious power struggle. The author skillfully uses thought-provoking analogies like this throughout the novel to develop characters and highlight the theme.

I enjoyed reading The Laureate. The author’s knowledge of the Italian Renaissance is impressive, and the story is rich with information about Italy during the 1400’s. Though the focus of the story is about politics, government, and church intrigue, there are also details about architecture, cultural habits, cuisine, fashion, society life, art and more. The author is clearly an expert in Italian history, and he uses it to create a thorough, well-rounded setting and group of characters for his story.

Even though I am amazed by the wealth of knowledge of the author, the way in which the background information is relayed seems a bit forced. Too much information is given at once, which makes the pacing at the start of the story slow. At times, the exposition reads more like a textbook than the beginning of a novel. I am glad for the background information, but I wish it were woven into the story more. It seems like a rather forced way to explain the nuances of Florentine government, and it made for a slow start to an otherwise engaging story.

This is an interesting piece of historical fiction that I recommend to readers who enjoy mysteries. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story and the setting are intriguing, the characters are well developed, and the author's knowledge of the Italian Renaissance is remarkable. However, there are grammatical errors throughout the novel. The writing shifts tenses repeatedly, and there are many missing or misplaced commas. Most of the errors did not interfere with the context, but the tense shifts did often make me stop and reread the sentence. Even with the errors in conventions and the slower exposition, this is a novel worth reading.

******
The Laureate
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Julie Petitbon's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
Stephanie Elizabeth
Posts: 516
Joined: 18 Jul 2018, 15:41
2019 Reading Goal: 40
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 40
Currently Reading: A Witch in Time Saves Nine
Bookshelf Size: 25
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-stephanie-elizabeth.html
Latest Review: Reflection by Titan Frey

Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 09 May 2019, 05:18

I really enjoyed reading your review, and that quote is quite thought-provoking. It is too bad that the author provided too much detail all at once. Great review!

User avatar
Franklin dutch
Posts: 1
Joined: 09 May 2019, 05:58
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by Franklin dutch » 09 May 2019, 06:10

I love your review it makes me understand the book more. Awesome review!

User avatar
Rachel Lea
Posts: 241
Joined: 25 Feb 2019, 19:29
Currently Reading: Murdered
Bookshelf Size: 35
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rachel-lea.html
Latest Review: The Mindset by Ace Bowers

Post by Rachel Lea » 09 May 2019, 07:51

I love a well-researched historical novel--especially if it also has an engaging plot and great characters, but I agree that it can be difficult for an author to weave the needed exposition seamlessly throughout the story without making it sound like a textbook. Great review!
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies... The man who never reads lives only one." -- George R.R. Martin :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
Brendan Donaghy
Posts: 214
Joined: 18 Jan 2019, 13:14
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 55
Currently Reading: A Witch in Time Saves Nine
Bookshelf Size: 18
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-brendan-donaghy.html
Latest Review: Mythic Worlds and the One You Can Believe In by Harold Toliver

Post by Brendan Donaghy » 09 May 2019, 08:54

I like the sound of the book, although it seems to have a few flaws. Your review gives a very balanced account - many thanks!

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7970
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 37
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 94
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: Scorched
Bookshelf Size: 272
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: The Descent of the Phoenix by Morgan Paul Cooper

Post by kandscreeley » 09 May 2019, 09:01

There's a delicate balance between being educational enough and overwhelming the reader. I'm not sure that's quite achieved here. I know little about law in the 1400s, but I don't know if this would hold my attention long enough for me to learn. Thanks for the review, though.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

kdstrack
Posts: 2673
Joined: 10 May 2017, 19:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 106
Currently Reading: Immortals' Requeim
Bookshelf Size: 232
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kdstrack.html
Latest Review: Living With Alzheimer’s: A Journey Observed by Leigh Smyth, MD

Post by kdstrack » 09 May 2019, 09:17

The historical facts and the extensive list of themes you have noted make this look really interesting. I especially enjoyed the quote about the rocks and stones. It would be interesting to find other nuggets like that in this book! Thanks for your insightful review.

User avatar
jimthorne2
Posts: 242
Joined: 16 Apr 2017, 20:16
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 103
Favorite Book: Christians in the Age of Outrage
Currently Reading: 30th Century: Escape (First Edition)
Bookshelf Size: 163
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jimthorne2.html
Latest Review: The Warramunga's War by Greg Kater
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by jimthorne2 » 10 May 2019, 14:49

Good review. Your descriptive piece makes me want to read the book. Your comments are enlightening and interesting.
Jim Thorne

User avatar
Julie Petitbon
Posts: 234
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 01:10
2019 Reading Goal: 30
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 1870
Favorite Author: J.K. Rowling
Currently Reading: Forgotten by the Shn
Bookshelf Size: 601
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-julie-petitbon.html
Latest Review: Adventures of a Rideshare Driver by Charles Campise
fav_author_id: 1778

Post by Julie Petitbon » 17 May 2019, 13:24

Franklin dutch wrote:
09 May 2019, 06:10
I love your review it makes me understand the book more. Awesome review!
Thank you! :)

User avatar
Julie Petitbon
Posts: 234
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 01:10
2019 Reading Goal: 30
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 1870
Favorite Author: J.K. Rowling
Currently Reading: Forgotten by the Shn
Bookshelf Size: 601
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-julie-petitbon.html
Latest Review: Adventures of a Rideshare Driver by Charles Campise
fav_author_id: 1778

Post by Julie Petitbon » 17 May 2019, 13:25

jimthorne2 wrote:
10 May 2019, 14:49
Good review. Your descriptive piece makes me want to read the book. Your comments are enlightening and interesting.
Thank you. It is an interesting book that I enjoyed reading. I hope you enjoy it. :)

User avatar
Julie Petitbon
Posts: 234
Joined: 01 Apr 2019, 01:10
2019 Reading Goal: 30
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 1870
Favorite Author: J.K. Rowling
Currently Reading: Forgotten by the Shn
Bookshelf Size: 601
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-julie-petitbon.html
Latest Review: Adventures of a Rideshare Driver by Charles Campise
fav_author_id: 1778

Post by Julie Petitbon » 17 May 2019, 13:28

kdstrack wrote:
09 May 2019, 09:17
The historical facts and the extensive list of themes you have noted make this look really interesting. I especially enjoyed the quote about the rocks and stones. It would be interesting to find other nuggets like that in this book! Thanks for your insightful review.
I really liked the author's metaphors as well. It gave the characters more dimension and added so much to the book. Thanks for your response!

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”