Immortal is a historical fiction novel that is rich in language and detail. It takes place in Florence during the Italian Renaissance. Throughout the novel we encounter actual historical people like Leonardo da Vinci, the Medicis and so on. In addition we are taken through historical events such as The Inquisition and The Black Death.
This isn’t an easy book to read-it is quite dark really. In the beginning we are introduced to the main character, Luca Bastardo, who had been abandoned as a young boy. He survives on the street, scrounging up food, begging and sleeping under bridges. One fateful day he is kidnapped by Silvano and introduced to a life as a child prostitute in a brothel. This was a very hard part of the novel for me to read-just the thought of the horrors Luca suffered there was enough to almost make me turn away from the book. I moved quickly through this part and a few shorter ones like it. Finally Luca escapes the brothel and ends up meeting a wonderful Jewish man who takes him in and teaches him to be a physico-a doctor. He also feels his first taste of what love and a normal sexual relationship can be with Rachel, the physico’s daughter. At this time also Luca is introduced to alchemy and healing and seeing into his future.
This novel is full of supernatural elements and of course immortality. Luca’s life spans over 180 years. From the beginning we know that Luca will come to a bad end but the book itself is his journey through all of these years. He is looking for the meaning to his life-why was he abandoned, who his parents were or are and why does he possess an ageless beauty. While the world and people around him are aging, Luca is staying the same. He is also looking for his one true love; the one promised him in a vision when he chose this one true love over an endless life. Finally through all the darknesss Luca finally meets Maddelena, his true love and he has several years of happiness. However, as seems to happen in Luca’s life, this comes to a bad end too.
I liked Luca’s character, I was drawn to him from the beginning and through all of his hardships in life. I enjoyed meeting all the people he met, famous or not. Hearing about the art and the history of Florence was enjoyable and I loved the supernatural elements. The sections on alchemy dragged on and I wasn’t too keen on those. I think the book wrapped up in the end in a way that left us satisfied.
Travelling this journey with Luca was an interesting adventure. I did like the book except for the brothel part which I could have done without. I think the book was longer than it needed to be but for the most part a good book. There is talk of a sequel to Immortal and I would be curious to read it.
You can see more reviews of this novel at these lovely blogs: