- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 Feb. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571269400
- ISBN-13: 978-0571269402
- Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.1 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Ground is Burning: Seduction, Betrayal, Murder Paperback – 3 Feb 2011
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A sweeping historical novel set during the great Italian wars of the early sixteenth century.
About the Author
Samuel Black was born in London and grew up in France. The Ground is Burning is his first novel.
Top customer reviews
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The author really recreates a tubulent and exciting time in this novel and each character is portrayed sympathetically. It really has everything - power, intrigue, violence, torture, lust, fear and respect. There are some wonderful characters, not least amongst them the murderous strangler that accompanies Cesare and who gleefully unpacks his tools whenever he has to 'interrogate' another victim and the lustful landlady who wears poor Machiavelli out. This is the authors debut and I will certainly look out for more from him. Well written and highly recommended.
For me, the book worked best when it explored those events that we know happened (such as the dramatic first meeting between Cesare and Machiavelli which was really well done). The weakest parts were those that were fictional, such as the development of the Dorotea character. She was a real woman kidnapped by Cesare, but apart from that historians know very little about her. Her narrative seemed very far fetched to me particularly regarding her relationship with Leonardo, which I found quite ridiculous.
I also didn't agree with the characterisation of Cesare as an angry, violent, monster. At times it seemed like the author was looking for ways to stress how horrible he was and so had to invent several scenes (such as the punishment of the French troops towards the end of the book) rather than relying on his real actions to show us his character.
That aside, as someone who is really interested in renaissance history, I did enjoy the book and it was a very imaginative take on what is a great story. It is certainly very different to most historical fiction in its style and I found that refreshing
THE GROUND IS BURNING is bursting with life. Black brings a sense of immediacy to an old story. Events of more than five centuries ago are as fresh as yesterday, and people long dead once again live and breathe within these pages.
Lots of action, gore and emotion. More than a lot of assistance in understanding an important period, and not least an actual meeting between Machiavelli, Cesare de Borgia and Leonardo de Vinci.
Much enjoyed; Black surely has a future.
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