Today’s team review is from Jenni. She blogs here https://jenniferdebie.com/
Jenni has been reading Rizzio by Denise Mina
David Rizzio, who gives Denise Mina’s Rizzio its name, is an Italian in the Scottish court, a loyal friend to the queen, and a onetime lover of the queen’s consort. The consort, Lord Darnley, married the queen for love, but has grown bitter at his position in court as little more than an ornament for the throne. Lord Darnley’s father, the Earl of Lennox, is prepared to manipulate and sacrifice his son into being the face of this insurrection if it means overthrowing the queen and restoring a cabal of deposed lords to their ancestral seats. All of this culminates in Mina’s gut-punch of a novella, a fast, dark recounting of roughly three terrible days in March 1566.
Written in tight, present-tense prose, Rizzio peers over the shoulders and into the minds of conspirators, loyalists, pawns, and victims as the titular assassination of Rizzio and the attempted overthrow of the queen unfolds. Everyone from the plotting lords, to the queen, to the people of Edinburgh who noticed unusual doings in the castle late at night, is drawn into this tale of one long weekend that changed the course of British history.
With less than 130 pages between its covers, Rizzio reads at a breakneck pace as Mina deftly lays out tangled webs of alliances, beliefs, deceptions, and betrayals that knot across 16th century Edinburgh. Circumstances change rapidly when plotters realize that all is not what it seems, the pregnant Queen Mary plans her escape, and unlikely allies, enemies, and opportunists make themselves known. As she has shown time and again with her other works, Mina is an author who knows how to captivate and keep her audience, and Rizzio is no exception.
On the evening of March 9th, 1566, David Rizzio, the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, was brutally murdered. Dragged from the chamber of the heavily pregnant Mary, Rizzio was stabbed fifty six times by a party of assassins. This breathtakingly tense novella dramatises the events that led up to that night, telling the infamous story as it has never been told before.
A dark tale of sex, secrets and lies, Rizzio looks at a shocking historical murder through a modern lens—and explores the lengths that men and women will go to in their search for love and power.