I had to wait 4 and a half years to finally get my hands on this sequel to one of 2007's best books (The Master of Verona), and the results didn't disappoint. This book, and its predecessor, undertake the task of presenting the feuding families of Romeo and Juliet in their historical context, namely, Verona under the rule of the legendary Cangrande della Scala. The previous book set up the political savvy of Cangrande and the basis for the fued between the Montagues and the Capulets. Blixt does a fine job of creating the historical environment of Verona at that time, and adds Dante's son and daughter as additional main characters in their own right. The book is also peppered with Shakespearean allusions throughout, from Petruchio of Taming of the Shrew to Shylock from Merchant of Venice. But the star, and central achievement of this book, is the way it brings alive the character of Mercutio, herein named Cesco, as a thirteen year old boy. Whenever Mercutio's on the page in this book, it soars with the vitality of that remarkable character and is a true joy to read. We also meet Tybalt as a frustrated teen in love with Lady Capulet (herself but a child), Romeo as a toddler, and Juliet as a newborn. I'm so happy someone of Blixt's skill has taken it upon himself to provide a sort of "Romeo and Juliet" re-boot and let us encounter these characters from their beginnings. I had a one minor issue with the book, namely that the descriptions of physical character action was often so little as to be nonexistent, leading to many pages of pure dialogue. Countrary to this, descriptions of fights or dynamic chases was superb and enthralling, and Blixt's expertise as a fight choreographer really shows in ease with which he renders such moments vividly. If you're looking for a fresh and entertaining historical fiction read in 2012, I'd recommend this highly.