Pages

Monday, April 20, 2015

Award Finalist David Blixt

David Blixt is the author of seven novels, most recently The Prince’s Doom, the fourth volume in the Star-Cross’d series, which began with The Master Of Verona and continued through Voice Of The Falconer. The third volume, Fortune’s Fool, was Editor’s Choice for the Historical Novel Society in 2013. The Prince’s Doom is a Finalist for the M.M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction.

Born in Ann Arbor and now living in Chicago, David’s career began in theatre. Drawn to classical works, he’s traveled far and wide, performing Aristophanes in ancient amphitheatres, Shakespeare in re-creations of the Globe, acting and designing theatrical combat for national productions. In 2014 David won a Wilde Award for Best Actor In A Comedy for his portrayal of Algernon in The Importance Of Being Earnest.

To his surprise, Shakespeare became his life, to date appearing in over 75 productions in such roles as Macbeth, Mercutio, Benedick, Brutus, Orsino, Leontes, Iacomo, Berowne, and Oberon. He even met his wife on stage, cast as Petruchio opposite her Kate in The Taming Of The Shrew. After facing off against her again in Much Ado, Midsummer, and Macbeth, they finally gave in and wed in 2002.

It was while directing Romeo & Juliet that he was struck by the idea that started him down the writing path fifteen years ago – the origin to the famous feud. Originally meant to be a novella, David started researching Verona while simultaneously reading Dorothy Dunnett’s amazing Lymond Chronicles. Dunnett’s works not only inspired him, they gave him permission to think on a grander scale. Thus the Star-Cross’d series turned into an eight-book epic, combining all of Shakespeare’s Italian characters with the real people of Dante’s time to create a picaresque tale of romance, murder, politics, war, religion, and friendship.

The story begins with Dante’s son Pietro arriving in Verona and falling under the awesome sway of the city’s ruler, Cangrande della Scala. Young, brilliant, and ambitious, Cangrande means to have his due and more. But his plans are spoiled by the birth of his bastard heir, Cesco, who is prophesized to be even greater. Honest and loyal, Pietro is given charge of this wild, willful youth, and attempts to raise Cesco to be the perfect chivalric knight. Mercurial at heart, the boy has other plans. Everyone is waiting to see what kind of man will Cesco become.

The Prince’s Doom begins with Cesco having nearly reached perfect happiness, only to have the cup dashed from his lips. Bitter, he puts on a show of apathy, indulging all his baser impulses. Forced to marry, he gathers around him all the young knights of Verona’s court and begins besieging the city with riotous living, threatening to tear down all that Cangrande has built. For once, Pietro is grateful for the plots and schemes that seem to emanate from Verona’s very stones, hoping to draw his foster-son out of himself, restore him to sanity. But when the first body falls, it is only the initial bolt from a quiver of deceit, desire, and deviltry that threatens them all. After races, duels, sieges, confrontations, poisonings, horrors, epic swordplay and exotic locations, the question of Cesco’s character is finally answered.

David’s other series, Colossus, is set in the first century AD, covering the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem through the building of the Colosseum in Rome. His stand-alone novel, Her Majesty’s Will, is a light-hearted romp through Shakespeare’s lost years, casting him as an accidental spy alongside Kit Marlowe in service of Elizabeth I and her cunning servant Walsingham.

David’s play Eve Of Ides gives us Caesar and Brutus on the night before the assassination, in a dire conversation that leads Brutus to conclude that “it must be by his death.”

David continues to write, act, and travel. He has ridden camels around the pyramids at Giza, been thrown out of the Vatican Museum and been blessed by John-Paul II, scaled the Roman ramp at Masada, crashed a hot-air balloon, leapt from cliffs on small Greek islands, dined with counts and criminals, climbed to the top of Mount Sinai, and sat in Cangrande’s chair in Verona’s palace. But he is happiest at home with his wife and two children, weaving tales of brilliant people in dire and dramatic straits.

A review of The Prince's Doom by Jim Bencivenega, retired book critic for The Christian Science Monitor:

"'The Prince’s Doom', by David Blixt, is a colossal work. It gives focus to the world of 14th century Italy through the vantage and particularity of the kingdom of Verona. It represents an accomplishment of great historical labor and a feat of psychological imagination worthy of its finalist status in the MM Bennetts award.

"The intrigue generated by the complex genealogy of noble families and their decidedly frayed relationships raveling and unraveling makes for a great read.

"Bastardy is common amid a code of family and military honor that is both exemplary, cynical and hypocritical. The many plots and subplots are bound together by the force of political dominance and power in an ever relevant Machiavellian vein.

"Engaging this book was for me the literary equivalent of standing before one of the great cathedrals of Europe. From what vantage do I look up? Which door do I enter? And once inside how long do I pause and meditate at the many side chapels.

"At times, the tapestries of the over arching plot will tax the imagination. Youthful brawls, duels, battles, spying, even jumping from roof to roof by Cesco can come across at times as a bit much, until presented with the challenge of a 'goose pull.' Immediately, ones historical eyes widen. Throughout, and ultimately, the interests of families, not individuals, mercilessly drives human action."

Final judge Edd Morris writes:

"The Prince’s Doom merits ‘epic’: in terms of its ambition, inspiration, and also its world count. A less bold author may have clipped its wings: instead, the pacy tale stretches to many hundreds of pages, and I’m sure that loyal fans of the series are
clamouring for more.

"The sinuous plot speeds along thanks to spectacular dialogue, with witty repartee sparkling upon every page.

"Cesco - our protagonist - is a beautifully constructed character, and I enjoyed his flashes of tenderness to Maddellena against the backdrop of his violent self-rebellion. But he was by no means the only memorable individual. Buthanya was undoubtedly my favourite within the supporting cast: trapped like Cesco, but with her own methods of coping.

"Slick and sophisticated, it’s easy to devour The Prince’s Doom. Its success, of course, was written in the stars."


David’s Website is www.davidblixt.com
His Blog is http://themasterofverona.typepad.com/the_master_of_verona/
His Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Blixt-Author/22822113504
And his Twitter address is http://twitter.com/@David_Blixt
His books are available from Sordelet Ink. Visit www.sordeletink.com. Or visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or order through your local bookstore.

No comments:

Post a Comment