The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick

The Shadow Master - Craig Cormick

**Thank you Angry Robot and Netgalley for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

This is a fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Instead of the Capulets and Montagues we have the Hose of Medici and the House of Lorraine. The families have been fighting each other over the Spice trade in the Walled City. Whoever controls the Spice trade will be the most powerful family in the city. It the precious Spiced Wine that keeps the Plague at bay. No one knows how far the plague has spread, but they do know the wine has kept it outside the Walled city. Each family has a genius on their side. The Medicis have Galileo and the Lorraines have Leonardo.


As he is leaving the Grand Cathedral, Giuliano Medici is assassinated. A dagger is embedded in his skull. His brother, Cosimo, is convinced this is handy work of the Lorraines. Cosimo is able to catch one of the assassins and has him brought back to the house for questioning. However, he will never be able to get any answers from the assassin.


This is where the story really kicks off. It's a really interesting retelling in that the two characters playing the parts of Romeo and Juliet aren't really the main characters. They share the role of main characters with about six other people. I love how the author blended real historical figures in the story. This really had a little bit of everything in it. You have action, adventure, a little bit of romance, imaginative machines, and a pinch of magic. I loved this book. I mean really, really loved it. This will definitely end up of my reread shelf. I have a few unanswered questions,though. If not for these, I'd give this 5 stars. Maybe the answers were hinted at and I'll catch them the next time I read this. If that is the case, it shouldn't be. The questions I have were important to the story and the answers should have been obvious. Everything about this title is outstanding. The story, characters, world building, everything about it.