cover image The Flames of Florence: A Da Vinci’s Disciples Novel

The Flames of Florence: A Da Vinci’s Disciples Novel

Donna Russo Morin. Diversion, $14.99 trade paper (260p) ISBN 978-1-63576-378-2

Set in Renaissance Florence, Morin’s so-so concluding volume in her Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy (after 2017’s The Competition) pits an ever-expanding group of admirable (if sometimes difficult to distinguish) women artists against real-life Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola. Preaching against vanity, Savonarola has targeted secular art and cultural objects for destruction, including paintings, manuscripts, musical instruments, and even mirrors and cosmetics. Under his malign influence, Viviana del Marrone Caivano and the other disciples are losing commissions. As the friar’s power grows, the disciples decide to protect what artwork they can from being consigned to the flames. Morin’s vivid descriptions of riots, hangings, and carnival revelry compensate only in part for thin characterizations and clunky prose (“Roaming the streets, the couple accepted wine when offered by strangers, followed the strains of the musicians with the rhythms in their steps, and stopped to watch the very bacchanalian dances of beautiful men and women taking place before the bonfires, feeling the tingle of arousal in the watching”). Those looking for a more nuanced view of Savonarola and Renaissance Florence might want to check out George Eliot’s novel Romola. [em]Agent: Shannon Hassan, Marsal Lyon. (May) [/em]