Reviewed by Frances.
Set prior to and within the years of the English Civil Wars, The Black Madonna is a veritable literary mainstream historical tome written with multiple character viewpoints, so there is a lot of head-hopping. At 625 pages Kindle edition, it’s a well-written and extremely well researched vendetta led plot, ending with a romantic conclusion.
The prologue itself  provides the reader with insight to the background of the Falceiri family of Genoa (Italy), and that of Luciano Del Santi’s bent to avenge the death of his father. By chapter one it is 1639, and Luciano is ensconced in London as a goldsmith and money lender. Albeit his work is much sought after, Luciano’s debtors’ range from the King to his courtiers, therefore the Italian moves in circles where he can never be “one of them” whilst they revolve in the realms of his dark existence out of dire need. Therefore, he wields dangerous power over a great many people of high rank and lesser status of whom may, or may not have had a hand in his father’s demise. What is more, his quest for justice and revenge combined with his cold calculating nature leads him on a predetermined path to dangerous encounters and the ultimate coup de grace.
But one should never underestimate element of surprise attack from an unknown source, and if not for the intervention and gallantry of Richard Maxwell and his son, the Italian might well have breathed his last in the gutter of a dark alley. Thus a new bond is struck, a bond that will last and eventually lead Lucianio to the men he seeks, thus the Maxwell family become an asset and latterly a liability when his heart is touched by Kate Maxwell, but tragedy strikes a mortal blow and guilt reigns for Luciano. All the while Parliament and the King are at odds, Civil War is no longer talked of as a possibility, for battles indeed rage, cities fall to Royalist or Parliamentarian banners , and Luciano continues hunting his prey. Meanwhile one of the hunted is determined to remove all evidence of his involvement in Del Santi senior’s demise, until one rash indulgence provides indisputable evidence of his guilt. But will Luciano grant mercy or serve sentence when the final moment of truth is upon him?
Reviewer notes: There are in depth narrative introductory passages per chapter and page breaks akin to Wikipedia datelines relating to persons of note, political shenanigans, plus military conquests and defeats. IMHO less author intrusion and more character drip-fed revelations of events as they unfolded would have provided the necessary historical facts woven seamlessly as opposed to documentary overtones, which often stalled the otherwise compelling storyline. All in all, an excellent read.