I had the honour of acting as editor for ARDENT, a fascinating historical novel set in the dangerous world of Medici Florence.
Heloise West is already well established as an author, but she was new to the Press when she offered us the opportunity to publish ARDENT. We felt it was a perfect fit with Manifold Press, as we are known for our quality historical fiction. ARDENT, with all its vivid detail, brings to life two artists as its main characters, and explores their world of creativity and commissions, intrigue and innocence, apprentices and patrons, lovers, friends – and the occasional murderer.
As someone who is fascinated and often seduced by colour, I appreciated that the plot centred on a controversial new method of creating a paint pigment – the ‘ardent red’ of the title. I also loved how aware the main characters were of the colours of their world, and how that also brought the village of Torrenta and the city of Florence into clear view for the reader. I keep wanting to use and re-use the word ‘vivid’ to describe the results!
Beyond the use of colour, I loved how intrinsic their art was to the main characters’ point of view. Their values and perspectives and imagery were all affected by their work and their vocation. Splendid stuff!
If you’d like to explore below the surface beauties of Florence with Morello and Benedetto, ARDENT is currently on sale at Smashwords!
Blurb: In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.
As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.
But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.
Word count: 75,600 words
It’s the season for thinking about gifts – for yourself and for your loved ones! Is there ever any better present than a book … ?
Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you.)
- ARDENT by Heloise West
- HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes
- SUBMERGE by Eleanor Musgrove
- TO THE LEFT OF YOUR NORTH STAR by Michelle Peart
- UNDER LEADEN SKIES by Sandra Lindsey