Leonardo da Vinci is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. Salai even thinks he’s God when Leonardo catches him slitting a purse. Salai soon finds out Leonardo isn’t God, but he is a genius, and one with a sense of humour, at that.
Duchess Beatrice isn’t pretty, and she knows it. But her sense of humour is just as strong, that Salai, described by Leonardo as a “thief,” “glutton,” and “mulehead,” strikes a chord with her, and soon three very unexpected people are very unlikely friends, in very uncertain times.
Author: E.L. Konigsburg
Genre: Historical Fiction
This book has always been a favourite. Mum read it aloud when I was little and, until the other day, when I picked it up to reread, I couldn’t remember at all what actually happened.
I won’t lie or sugar-coat the truth. This book is awesome. Humour. Humour and dialogue. That’s what pulls me into a book, and than a big thwack of sad when you least expect it, and you have epicness right there, between two cardboard covers.
Salai… there’s something to love about a theif who doesn’t care who hears him say what. Leonardo says it perfectly.
“Salai,” he said, “I think where the Lord gave most men a bump for respect, He gave you a hollow.”
And it’s pefectly true, and it’s perfectly perfect. He’s the ideal main character. Beatrice, also was great. Great doesn’t cut it. Beatrice was brilliant. Leonardo was… engimatic, but particularly nice in that he didn’t have Salai hanged when he started selling Leonardo’s ideas to other artists. Like I said. Salai is great.
And the sad… I’ll say it. I did not expect it. I completely forgot it happened. It was horrible. But I won’t say anything more, or I’ll give it away. (I will say it was enough to make the difference from 5 stars on Shelfari to 5 stars and a favourite Heart.)
The book takes place over about ten years. It’s not fast-moving-action-packed. But that’s fine. Just the very writing was enough to keep me glued to the page until I was called for trifles such as setting the table or having dinner.
To put it mildly, it’s a must-read book. Absolutely must-read for history, humour, and general book fanatics combined. (And it’s all very factual and very true and clever. Admirable, I say.)