It's a been quite a while since I read a novel that I absolutely adored. Immortal sucked me in at page one and even after over 500 pages of reading I could have read more. In Immortal, Traci L. Slatton follows the 180 year life story of Luca Bastardi, a Florentian citizen and son of Seth who writes his autobiography from his Inquisition cell as he awaits public burning at the stake.
This is not an easy read, beginning in a cell as Luca awaits execution. "But now the burns and broken bones, the gangrene putrefying my leg and nauseating me with its odor, curtail my time." Luca's tale begins as he is stolen from his parents and abandoned on the streets of Florence to make his way, and continues as he is enslaved for many years in the homosexual brothel of Giordano Silvano where he learns survival at all costs, becomes muse to Giotto, survives the Black Plague, and learns the arts of medicine, alchemy, and negotiation. He becomes a tutor to Leonardo da Vinci, meets the love of his life, and finally solves the mystery of his genetic gifts as he lays literally at death's door.
The themes that ultimately hold both his life and this novel together are the major ones – life and death, love and hate, beauty and ugliness, spirituality and religion, science and belief, and the constant battle of progress versus comfort. Immortal takes us out of our comfort zone and asks us to consider how we would choose to live our lives if we could live forever.
Impeccable history, interesting narrative, and enough fantasy to make it fun, Immortal shows us the best and worst of humanity over an intense couple of centuries. She brings in art history, jewish folktale, and philosophy (including The Wandering Jew), a carefully drawn history of the Catholic church and the Inquisition, the Black Death, and an overarching theme that in the end love really does conquer all.Powered by Sidelines