Monday, December 26, 2011

Historical Fiction: Iago by David Snodin

Publisher: Henry Holt
Date: January 3, 2012
Format: ARC
Acquired: from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 445
Reading time: three days

Following the violent deaths of, among others, the Moor and Desdemona, the villain Iago escapes his Cypriot prison only to be brought to Venice. Going head-to-head with Annibale Malipiero, the chief inquisitor of the city, Iago embarks on a journey across Italy with a young prisoner and two other unlikely companions. Malipiero seeks to unlock the mysteries of such a murderer's mind, while Iago is willingly to do anything it takes to become free of the control of others in this continuation of Shakespeare's tragedy Othello.

Though I found this novel generally slow in plot development, I never considered it to be boring. Snodin does more than just examine one of Shakespeare's most notorious villains by writing a historical novel which also tells of life in Renaissance Italy, at times dealing with political and familial issues, education, war, love, and religion. I found myself just as interested in fifteen-year-old Gentile Stornello's adventures as I was with the psychological evaluation of Iago's motives and vicious deeds, which was good because of the prominent role Gentile plays in Snodin's tale. I have never read Othello and expected more time and depth to be invested in the examination of Iago, but I was not displeased with this book and quite enjoyed reading it.

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