I have received a free e-copy of the book Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord by Dennis Maley to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.
Here is the book blurb.
David’s business is a shambles. The trade in indulgences is dead and the bones of heretics smolder on the auto-da-fe’. All because of that mad monk, Martin Luther. What a prigg.
David is a merchant of deceit, a poet of lies. A dwarf, he claims to be a prince of a lost tribe of Israel. Along with his manservant Diogo, an actor, the masquerade delights the citizens of Rome. The food and beds are warm, the ladies plump and willing. The Jews of Rome whisper that David is their Messiah. The time is right for Christendom to join a powerful desert tribe to rain down death and destruction on the Muslim Turks. How could Europe not prevail?
In faraway France, a warlord struggles to regain his honor. He’s the Duke of Bourbon, the victor in a great military conquest who has lost his family fortune. Bourbon turns traitor and joins his sworn enemy, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. But the mercenaries he enlists are unpaid, underfed, and poorly shod. The money to pay their wages is in Rome.
Richly researched and irreverent, this story weaves actual historical characters and institutions into a wry tale of three men, each on a quest for fame and fortune.
I struggled to get into this story which starts in 1515 in Bavaria. David, a dwarf was working as a fortune teller with a travelling troupe led by Beza. I couldn’t grasp the context of indulgences from the Church which the faithful were paying for. But when Martin Luther declared that these were gifts that God gave freely, Beza and David’s fortunes turned for the worse, so they decided to head to Portugal, but Beza rode off with both horses and David was left behind broke.
The story also follows two other main characters – Diogo of Portugal who escapes on a ship to Florence when his mistress’s husband returns. His fortunes don’t improve and he finds himself broke in Rome in 1520. And thirdly, Charles the Duke of Bourbon, who is also broke after supporting his cousin Francis, king of France in war.
David is captured by the constable of Treviso and he weaves his lies, declaring himself to be the brother of King Joseph of the tribe of Reuben to the magistrate. He is sent to Venice where he is freed and adopted by the Jewish community as a Messiah.
The story continues, bringing David and Diogo together, before separating them again. We meet other familiar names from that era of history such as Wolsey. But I just found it all rather too confusing.
Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.62 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A challenging, confusing read.
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Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.
I was intrigued by the title and I usually like historical novels so was interested to read your review. It sounds as if the author couldn’t decide which character’s story to concentrate on and has ended up with a bit of a confused narrative.
It was a hybrid of characters which did add to the confusion
I sometimes struggle with books at the start but find it worth perserving. This sounds interesting if a little confusing
I mostly persevere although there are a few books I have given up on
Sounds like a slow burner rather than a real page turner! Thanks for sharing with #readwithme
yes this one did take me a long time to read
Im intrigued – not my usual genre but sounds interesting
yes interesting but confusing too