Hoffman, Mary. City of Ships (Stravaganza)
Bloomsbury see St. Martins 2010 356p 17.99
978-1-59990-491-7 ms/hs Historical E-BN
In this newest addition to the Stravaganza series, Isabel is another student at Barnsbury Comp who becomes a stravaganti after the discovery of her personal talisman. This sprightly written and exciting time travel adventure is utterly fascinating. It offers both fantasy and suspenseful historical fiction in a well-paced plot and with engaging characters in a Byzantine plot very redolent of Renaissance Italy and the de Medicis. Isabel is the twin sister of Charlie and has always felt inferior to him. When she finds a small velvet bag containing silver tesserae, she thinks nothing more of it than something lost by a fellow art student. That night, she is transported into the Baptistery of the Talian city of Classe. She quickly becomes involved in the political intrigues within the city. Fabrizio di Chimici, the Grand Duke of Tuschia, is determined to rule over all Talia and will stop at nothing to further his desires. He has invited the warlike foreign Gate people to attack Classe by sea while he attacks by land and it will be up to Isabel and her friends, both English and Talian, to prevent this from happening. All is done with great panache and style.
This sprightly written and exciting time travel adventure is utterly fascinating. It offers both fantasy and suspenseful historical fiction in a well-paced plot and with engaging characters. With a Byzantine plot very redolent of Renaissance Italy and the de Medicis, the author weaves many strands into a marvelous whole, with the locations are beautifully rendered, and the characters are very three-dimensional. The story is told through the intertwined voices of the main characters, alternating between them. They all come from a different time and place in society and have different points of view. The author mixes adventure, political intrigues, mystery, a sixteenth century background, and a little romance into this very well done book.
This is a must purchase for any library who numbers fantasy readers among its users. They will be waiting impatiently for the next volume. Ogintz, Susan
Renaissance-Fiction, Space and time-Fiction