Summary: In an age of wonderous beauty and terrible secrets,one man searches for his destiny...
In the majestic heart of Florence, a beautiful golden-haired boy is abandoned and subjected to cruelty beyond words. But Luca Bastardo is anything but an ordinary boy. Across two centuries of passion and intrigue, Luca will discover an astonishing gift—one that will lead him to embrace the ancient mysteries of alchemy and healing and to become a trusted confidant to the powerful Medicis…even as he faces persecution from a sadistic cabal determined to wrest his secrets for themselves.
But as the Black Death and the Inquisition wreak havoc on his beloved city, Luca’s survival lies in the quest to solve two riddles. One is the enigma of his parents and his ageless beauty. The other is a choice between immortality and the only chance to find his one true love. As Luca journeys through the heights of the Renaissance, befriends Giotto and Leonardo Da Vinci—140 years apart—and pursues the most closely guarded secrets of religious faith and science for the answers to his own burning questions, his remarkable search will not only change him…but will change the course of history. -- Delta
I first heard about the novel IMMORTAL by Traci L. Slatton from Iliana at Bookgirl's Nightstand. I was fortunate enough to win one of her giveaways for a copy of the ARC awhile back. Like so many other books, it just went into my TBR pile. When my good friend selected it as the January 2009 selection for our book club, I was thrilled. I just had a feeling that I was going to enjoy this story!
Oh my gosh -- I just loved this book! It's a relatively long book (over 500 pages), but I read it in just a few days. I couldn't put it down and I even stayed up late at night to read it (as a mother of two, I don't stay up late very often.) I was so drawn into Luca Bastardo's story from the first few pages until the last. Not only did I like the characters of Luca, but the basic premise of the story was so unique and extremely interesting.
I am just fascinated by the characters and the time period covered in IMMORTAL. I love all things Italy, and this book certainly was full of wonderful things about this country. One thing that I really appreciated in this story was the author's ability to weave actual historical figures into Luca Bastardo's life. Fortunately for me, Luca lived for a very long time so he encountered many of the interesting characters in Florence history including Giotto, Botticelli and (my favorite) Leonardo da Vinci. I also enjoyed the many scenes that involved the Medici's. I learned that I'm extremely interested in everything concerning them -- what a unique bunch of people. I'm dying to read more historical fiction books about these characters and this time period; so if you have any recommendations, please leave me a comment!
I was so impressed that IMMORTAL is Ms. Slatton's first novel. I found so much of the historical aspects of this novel to be interesting (I can't even imagine how much research she must have conducted before writing this novel;) however, I also appreciated how well she developed the character of Luca. In addition, I thought her prose and descriptions of Florence were very beautiful. I think Ms. Slatton is going to have a wonderful future as a novelist!
Another thing that I really enjoyed about IMMORTAL was following Luca's quest to learn about his origins and identity. I can imagine how difficult it would be not to know your background; but when you add that Luca didn't age like normal people, I think not knowing would be so difficult. While Luca encountered many famous historical figures throughout the course of this novel, he also met many interesting characters who were spiritual and (to me) very thought-provoking. I liked how the author was able to incorporate the study of alchemy into this novel; but what I really found intriguing were the issues surrounding faith, religion, science, and even morals.
As I read this novel, I kept thinking that it would make a wonderful movie. When I was looking around the author's website, I discovered that IMMORTAL has already been optioned for film by Vast Entertainment. Not only am I very anxious to read another book by Ms. Slatton, but I can now look forward to a movie too. Make sure you take a look at her website because there is an extremely interesting video interview with Ms. Slatton. She is such an interesting woman!
If you love reading historical fiction books, then you'll definitely want to check out IMMORTAL. I am so anxious to talk about it this evening with my book club. I'll be sure to post tomorrow with a recap about our meeting and our discussion!