BOOK REVIEW: The Ground Is Burning  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Title: The Ground Is Burning

Author: Samuel Black

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $32.99

ISBN: 9780571269402

Release Date: April 2011

Pages: 350


A sweeping historical novel set during the great Italian wars of the early sixteenth century.

Seduction, betrayal and murder: the true art of the renaissance. Cesare Borgia, Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci - three of the most famous, or notorious, names in European history. In the autumn of 1502, their lives intersect in a castle in Italy's Romagna.

In this hugely intelligent and entertaining novel, Samuel Black tells the true story of these men who, with different tools - ruthless ambition, unstoppable genius and subtle political manipulation - each follow an obsession to attain greatness and leave a lasting mark on the world. And at the centre of this court of intrigue and deception is Dorotea Caracciolo, a young noblewoman abducted by Borgia who has become his lover - and his secret agent. Their story begins in hope and fear and ends in bloodshed, deceit and triumph.

Along the way, there are battles and romances, lavish parties and furtive stranglings. And out of this maelstrom will emerge the Mona Lisa and The Prince.

About Samuel Black

Samuel Black was born in London and grew up in France. The Ground is Burning is his first novel.


The novel tells the story of Leonardo DaVinci, Nicolo Machiavelli and Cesare Borgia from 1479 to 1516.

It’s chronologically told so that each character tells their part in each historical even that passes during the set period.

I found this fascinating as each person’s view is different. It makes the story twist perfectly. The side characters are great and they add spice to the main character’s lives.

The author explains that the novel is historically based with some inventive changes.

I think Samuel did a great job. I loved it and think that he should write another novel like this one.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 10:41 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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