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Damiano [Paperback]

R. A. MacAvoy
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 22 1985
"I am greatly impressed with Ms.MacAvoy's Damiano. Her style is masterly and her sorcerous duels hold one spellbound. You seldom find such telling evocation of striking witchcraft scenes, and the weaving of the whole tale is like viewing one five-hundred-year-old masterpiece just about to be cut finished from an artists's loom. I recommend it highly." -Andre Norton "Damiano is a treasurable read. Roberta MacAvoy is undeniably a writer to watch." --Anne McCaffrey Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Italian Renaissance this alternate history takes place in a world where real faith-based magic exists. Our hero is Damiano Dalstrego. He is a wizard's son, an alchemist and the heir to dark magics. But he is also an innocent, a young scholar and musician befriended by the Archangel Raphael, who instructs him in the lute. To save his beloved city from war, Damiano leaves his cloistered life and sets out on a pilgrimage, seeking the aid of the powerful sorceress Saara as he must walk the narrow path between light and shadow, accompanied only by his talking dog. But his road is filled with betrayal, disillusionment and death, and Damiano is forced to confront his dark heritage, unleashing the hellish force of his awesome powers to protect those he loves. The further volumes of this tale are Damiano's Lute and Raphael.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A string buzzed against his fingernail; the finger itself slipped, and the beat was lost. Damiano muttered something that was a bit profane. "The problem isn't in your hand at all. It's here," said Damiano's teacher, and he laid his ivory hand on the young man's right shoulder. Damiano turned his head in surprise, his coarse black ringlets trailing over the fair skin of that hand. He shifted within his winter robe, which was colored like a tarnished brass coin and heavy as coins. The color suited Damiano, whose complexion was rather more warm than fair. "My shoulder is tight?" Damiano asked, knowing the answer already. He sighed and let his arm relax. His fingers slid limply across the yew-wood face of the liuto that lay propped on his right thigh. The sleeve of the robe, much longer than his arm and banded in scarlet, toppled over his wrist. He flipped the cloth up with a practiced, unconsdous movement that also managed to toss his tangle of hair back from his face. Damiano's hand, arm, and shoulder were slim and loosely jointed, as was the rest of him. 'Again?" he continued. "I thought I had overcome that tightness months ago." His eyes and eyelashes were as soft and black as the woolen mourning cloth that half the women of the town wore, and his eyes grew even blacker in his discouragement. He sighed once more. Raphael's grip on the youth tightened. He shook him gently, laughing, and drew Damiano against him. "You did. And you will overcome it again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Memorable Fantasy Trilogy Aug. 14 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I think the reason Roberta MacAvoy's fantasies are not better known is that they are so hard to classify. Is the Damiano trilogy an alternate history of a time when the pope was exiled in Avignon, and the Black Death and the condottiere made life miserable, brutish, and short for almost everyone else? Is it the story of a witch who wanted to be a musician, and his little talking dog? Is it the tale of a struggle between two brothers, who happen to be the Seraph, Raphael and Lucifer, Prince of Darkness?
MacAvoy has a way of bringing me into every scene, using precise language and memorable detail:
"His mind was flooded with the memory of this very pasture in the green of summer, when his father would treat the sheep with tar poultices and incantation. Grass up to his half-grown knees, except where the flocks had cropped it. It had been cool then, in the mountains, but pleasant. Sheep's milk. Napping at midday, surrounded by curious, odorous, half-grown lambs."
I wish MacAvoy hadn't killed off my favorite characters, one by one, but it is a tribute to the power of her writing that I kept reading, anyway. I was hooked. I had to know how her trilogy ended.
If history is fair to fantasy authors, Damanio and his lute and his little, talking dog will outlast all of the overblown 'ologies' of Brooks, Goodkind, and Stephen King.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MACAVOY WROTE THE PERFECT STORY IN THREE PARTS. March 14 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Its a historical, realistic fantasy that takes place in Northern Italy, Provencal France, and Moorish Spain in the thirteenth century at the tail end of one of the Bubonic plagues. For 600+ pages, with Damiano, Saara, and Raphael, I ate, slept, journeyed, witched, and loved, and also fought with Satan, while safely ensconced on my livingroom couch. Every sentence in all three books is a perfect little facet on this beautiful gem of a medieval epic about good vs. evil. My two regrets are that I bought the trilogy a decade ago but didn't read it until this week, and that it was not 1000 pages longer. It seems R.A. MacAvoy's books are out of print so Northern California used book stores beware: I'm on my way over to beg, borrow, or steal the rest of her stories. I must have them and you must also.
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5.0 out of 5 stars And not only that but you'll need a hankie Jan. 25 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm happy there are so many wonderful reviews, but surprised that one aspect of these 3 books (published together in this omnibus edition) has not been mentioned yet: Besides enjoying a superior (gently humorous and delightfully vivid) fantasy, you will also be rendered teary at the sad scenes. Until I read these books I didn't think it was possible, outside of a Victorian novel (or William Maxwell's short story, "Thistles in Sweden"), to find oneself wiping away beautifully sad tears. Another bit of clarification: If you can't stand "Wardour Street" medieval fantasies, this isn't one. It's altogether wonderful. Read it, read it, read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars And not only that but you'll need a hankie Jan. 25 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm happy there are so many wonderful reviews, but surprised that one aspect of these 3 books (published together in this omnibus edition) has not been mentioned yet: Besides enjoying a superior (gently humorous and delightfully vivid) fantasy, you will also be rendered teary at the sad scenes. Until I read these books I didn't think it was possible, outside of a Victorian novel (or William Maxwell's short story, "Thistles in Sweden"), to find oneself wiping away beautifully sad tears. Another bit of clarification: If you can't stand "Wardour Street" medieval fantasies, this isn't one. It's altogether wonderful. Read it, read it, read it!
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