Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Leonardo's Shadow Christopher Grey

Leonardo's Shadow by Christopher Grey is now out in paperback. I missed it the first time around. I did pick it up several times with interest, though I never opened the book. Last week I was looking for something new to read. Everything was quickly vetoed. Leonardo's Shadow was once again in my hands. I said to myself enough of this, either read the book or don't, commit already. So I read the first page of Leonardo's Shadow. I must say my subconscious has very good, awarding winning taste.

The story begins with an eight year old boy, running from a mob. He is a suspected thief, his feet carry him quickly through the streets of Milan for fear of death. The boy jumps from the top of a Cathedral. He would of died, if not for Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci and three other men where replacing a stained glass window on the Cathedral. The boy, fell on top of the work canopy, Da Vinci pulled him in. Thanks to the fever and the fall, the boy forgot his name. Da Vinci gave him a new one, Giacomo. He would become Leonardo Da Vinci's servant. Giacomo was cunning, smart and witty.

"We settle down to drink and laugh and forget that tomorrow, sore heads or not, we will be up at dawn to work. That's the servant's life. A few moments of merriment followed by days of drab duty. In Milan you are what you are. And I am a servant."

At the time of Giacomo's arrival into Da Vinci life, he was working on the Last Supper. I've always enjoyed art, so I found what I learned about Da Vinci and the Last Supper very interesting. Like why Da Vinci didn't paint on the wall for two years, who Da Vinci used has his models, or the reason for the Last Supper.
Giacomo has dreams of becoming an artist himself but right now he must keep Da Vinci on track. The Last Supper must be completed before the Pope's arrival.
There is a lot to like about Leonardo's Shadow. The language for one. I enjoyed the give and take between the characters especially Giacomo and Da Vinci

"Past midday, Master. Father Vicenzo is here again."
"Then send him away again."
" I tried that, Master."
"And failed, I see."
How easily he forgets all the times I succeeded.

The novel has great pace as well. Its 390 pages but it read like a novel half its size. Since the story begins quickly with a foot chase down a busy city street, reluctant readers will enjoy Leonardo's Shadow as well.

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