I didn't really know what to espect when I decided to read this novel. I have never played the game Assassin's Creed II (Xbox 360), which this is based on, and only had a slim idea of what the game is about. I didn't have high hopes for this book, being a game tie-in I just hoped for a quick action packed read, and it did deliver on that score, and indeed was much better than I had expected.
The story takes place between 1476-1503, thus proceeding over a number of years, indeed during 'interesting times'. The renaissance was in full swing in Italy when this story takes place. Our hero, Ezio Auditore witnesses the hanging of his father and two brothers and swears vengeance. It is then that he starts learning things, such as that he is descended from the Order of Assassins, who are out to prevent those descendants of the Templars from gaining their goal of world domination. Whilst learning the Assassin's Creed Ezio must overthrow the Templars.
What follows is a grand romp through the Italian renaissance, taking in the de' Medicis, the Borgias, da Vinci, Machiavelli, the Sforzas, and Savonarola and his 'bonfires of the vanities'. Whilst locating pages from a Codex, battling foes and helping others, Ezio makes friends and allies to help him on his what has become a quest. With loads of swashbuckling and derring-do, and some romance, will Ezio be able to prevent the Templar conspiracy from obtaining its predominance, and will we also find out who the prophet that has been foretold really is?
A good historical tale this also incorporates a little bit of sci-fi/fantasy, and should appeal to a large number of readers. If you have never played the game it doesn't matter, and you shouldn't let that put you off. If you have played the game I don't know if this novel will help you win, but it may add a different and more absorbing level to the game, and your playing experience.