City of Vengeance by D.V. Bishop
Set in Florence in 1536, this atmospheric and thrilling novel introduces a memorable new character to literary fiction – Cesare Aldo, an officer of the Otti di Gaurdia e Balia, the most feared criminal court in Florence.
The story opens with Aldo escorting a Jewish moneylender to his home in Florence. They are attacked by bandits, but Aldo manages to get his client home safely – only to discover the moneylender is murdered in his home not long after. Aldo is given an unreasonable four days to solve the murder – he must catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany – or suffer the consequences. It doesn't take long for Aldo to uncover a plot to overthrow Florence's ruler, Alessandro de' Medici. If the Duke falls, this will create a power vacuum that could endanger the entire city.
Meanwhile, a colleague investigates the death of a young man, killed in brutal circumstances, which leads to another officer of the court wanting to expose details about Aldo's personal life that could ruin him.
Aldo is a unique character, a man of honour and bravery, who is an officer of the court, but who works to his own moral code. City of Vengeance is a novel that twists and turns in a city filled with ambitious characters seeking power at the cost of others. It's a world of intrigue, from the courts to the prisons, from the brothels to the taverns. An accomplished read, and I can't wait to read the next book featuring the enigmatic hero Cesare Aldo.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan