guest post & audiobook giveaway: The Master of Verona

Please welcome author David Blixt, who has a brand new audio version of his book The Master of Verona on its 10th anniversary. The eBook version is also only $1.99 across platforms today (December 11th)!

I’m one of “those” authors. The ones you have to discover for yourself, through a friend, or a comment, (or a blog!). There’s no big push, no publicity engine. And my books aren’t for everyone. I’m an author with a marvelously devoted group of readers, who is yet unknown to the public at large.

And I’m entirely good with that. My favorite authors are “those authors”.

As a kid, I was in a comic book store asking when the next Myth Adventures comic was coming out. The guy behind the desk pointed and said, “Ask him. He writes them.” That’s how I met Robert Asprin, whose fantasy works were a joyful romp and shaped my notion of comedy. Whenever I sit down to write badinage and repartee, I have him in mind.

I was nineteen when a friend (and crush) handed me a copy of Jonathan Carroll and said, “You write like him.” Reading the book, it was an amazing compliment. Carroll is magical and poetic and true. Sleeping In Flame captures exactly what it is to fall in love, then takes a left turn and there are sea serpents and flying children and it’s fantastic, in every sense. I can always sense when he’s growing bored, because he never goes through the motions – he instead knows that if he’s bored, his reader will be too. So he changes things up.

I can’t even remember how I discovered James Morrow’s Only Begotten Daughter. Morrow writes two-thirds of a great book, but suffers what movies do today – a lack of a solid ending. But his concepts are so wonderful because he’s attracted to the same things I am – the gaps in stories we all think we know.

It was my wife who introduced me to Dorothy Dunnett, by far the greatest influence on my work. To me she is the pinnacle of the historical fiction genre. She is dense and complicated and cruel, and timeless and romantic and brilliant. She expects the world from her readers, and gives it right back to them. When I hear my books compared to hers, I glow with pride.

These authors are mine. Yes, I adore Neil Gaiman and Bernard Cornwell and Colleen McCullough, I relish Raphael Sabatini and Alexandre Dumas and Mary Renault. But I feel a sense of connection with my writers more deeply because they are not household names. Readers treasure the joy of discovery, of great “finds”, of ownership. Authors are friends, in a sense. They become familiar, often closer than family.

Today there’s a deal on my first novel, The Master Of Verona. This year marks the 10th anniversary of its publication, and to celebrate I’ve finally recorded an audio edition (huge thanks to my producer Judith West for taking me through the process). The new edition is revised, fixing infelicities I discovered while reading, and sports a fantastic new cover. While I was at it, I decided to commission new covers for the whole series. It’s been a delight to return to Renaissance Verona, because that series owns a huge piece of my heart.

It’s a grand adventure, the epic kind of novel that I didn’t know could exist until Dunnett showed me how. Like Morrow’s work, it focuses on a gap, in this case the origin of the famous Capulet-Montague feud from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. As with Asprin, a lot of character is revealed through dialogue, sometimes witty, often cutting. And like Carroll, I wrote to entertain myself, and ended up with a climax that is genuinely shocking to readers because it was utterly shocking to me.

So I’d like to offer you this deal on the ebook of The Master Of Verona, on every platform it’s available – Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and more. Shakespeare and Dante – and Dunnett and Asprin and Morrow and Carroll. And me.

Yes, we all have “those” authors. I would like to be one of yours.


In 1314, 17-year-old Pietro Alighieri travels to Verona with his father, the infamous poet Dante, at the invitation of its leader, the legendary Francesco “Cangrande” della Scala. A sneak attack from Padua leads Pietro into his first battle, fighting alongside the charismatic Cangrande, and into a tight friendship with Mariotto Montecchio and Antonio Capulletto. Behind the scenes, repeated attempts are made against the life of a child believed to be Cangrande’s illegitimate son and possible heir.

Pietro is drawn into a web of intrigue around the child and the tension building between Mariotto and Antonio over a woman betrothed to one and in love with the other – a situation that will sever a friendship, divide a city, and ultimately lead to the events of the best known tragic romance in the world.

Inspired by the plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the events of history, The Master of Verona is a compelling novel of politics, loyalty, conspiracy, and star-crossed romance.

GIVEAWAY: Enter for the chance to win an Audible copy of The Master of Verona! Reply to this post by December 25, 2017.

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