The Stars Dispose

Michaela Roessner, Author Tor Books $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-85754-7
Rarely has Renaissance Florence seemed more vibrant than in this delectable historical fantasy from Roessner (Vanishing Point). Focusing on the Befanini family of pastry-makers and sauciers (primarily the oldest boy, Tommaso, and his more mystical mother, Piera), the novel serves up the trials and tribulations of the cooks for, and protectors of, a pre-adolescent Caterina de Medici as she develops from a pawn of the pope and the Florentine nobility into a royal force to be reckoned with. Piera must use all her culinary and magical skills as Florence is besieged--first by plague, then by politics. Young Tommaso, meanwhile, is placed squarely in the heart of the city's most passionate intrigues after he is made an artist's apprentice in the studio of Il Tribolino. From this privileged vantage, the handsome youth interacts with a plethora of artistic greats, including Michelangelo. Studded with nuggets of period lore and arcane magic, the book is a lode of rich historical detail. Strong female characters abound, while Roessner's handling of domestic discords is as skillful as her use of magic is imaginative. Roessner has done an exquisite job of preparing a feast for the literary palate, even including a glossary and recipes for several of the more memorable dishes discussed. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-8125-5014-6
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