When George Eugene Magnus first approached me for reviewing his book, “Rise of the Merovingians” (Volume 1: Unearthing The Ancient Power), the very title intrigued me. Till then all I knew of the Merovingian was that it was an ancient Frankish dynasty. Primarily I took it as a work of fiction based on extensive historical research-work, but as I delved deeper into the book, it appeared to be much more, an edgy tale of crime and conspiracy and clandestine cults.
The book has 27 chapters and each begins with a Shakespearean quote which sings in tune with the essence of the chapter. The protagonist of the story is Maria Bassano who shares a lineage from her mother’s side to the ancient Merovingian dynasty.During her vacation in Venice, where her husband George and she were actually celebrating their 20th marriage anniversary, she was abducted by some unknown people. Surprisingly enough, the kidnappers wanted to know why they visited the Santissimo Rendentore Church and inquired about the painting Resurrection of Christ by Francesco Bassano.
But as soon as Maria disclosed her identity and that her last name is Bassano, the kidnappers apologized vehemently and they were granted freedom instantly.
This incident boosted Maria’s curiosity to explore her family line.
After returning to Australia, her homeland, Maria delved deeper into her Nonna’s ( grandma) ancient leather diary. Maria’s Nonna gifted her the diary along with an ancient leather covered Venetian jewellery box and an ancestral painting. The couple deciphered some clues and they set out to London to get to the root of the family mystery.
A series of unprecedented events awaited them as George and Maria found themselves at the epicentre of a colossal conspiracy. Chased by UK’s domestic security agency MI5, they literally had to run for their lives. But Maria was intransigent and determined enough to know about her lineage ….her connection to the Merovingian dynasty. Maria’s father Jimmy, who used to work as a secret agent, had some old allies in London. Those friends, Alex and his subordinates, helped them to excavate an iron chest which belonged to Bassano family. With their co-operation, George and Maria finally bade adieu to England vouching not to return ever again.
But destiny had something else in store for them. After returning home, they discovered that a planned sabotage had completely ruined their businesses and farmhouse and vine yards! In a traumatic condition and while being attacked by seasoned sharp-shooters of MI, they left their home with Jimmy, Maria’s father, to take shelter somewhere else.
The belongings of the iron chest provided further clues and Maria and George again started their exploration for the lost lineage, for the bloodline of the ancient Merovingian king Clovis I which had made Maria both vulnerable and virtuous. While chased by MI6, Italian police and secret members of the ancient cult Rose Croix, will Maria’s indomitable spirit and George’s earnest endevour to find out the truth ever become successful? Or will they find themselves entrapped in a sinister web of danger and skulduggery? The book provides an answer to that, an answer to a long buried ancient prophecy that a Merovingian princess shall rise and unearth their immense power once again.
“Rise of the Merovingians” is an interesting read, especially for those who have an interest for ancient history and ilk. The pace of the story often got stumbled by the presence of vivid description of food, furniture and almost everything. To prove that Maria has an impeccable taste for finesse, the author has dedicated a fair amount of pages to describe all that’s nice and expensive. One would find it rather astonishing that while the couple were running to find some safe place to save their dear lives, even then they’re searching for some five-star accommodation and gastronomical extravagance!
The character of Maria, as well as George, has been delineated with perfection. You can almost visualize their personas. The way author has described each and every painting, church, ancient book reveals his exemplary knowledge as a historian.
The book has an open end which also paves the way for a sequel. If you want to experience an exotic flavour through reading, if you’re a culinary connoisseur or a wine aficionado , if you enjoy reading stories which blend modernity with mythology, fiction with history…… you’ll enjoy this book.
From my side it’s 3.5/5
About the Author
Bored with writing academic papers on the Merovingian dynasty, George E Magnus began researching his family’s ancestry for a thrill. He discovered that his wife is actually a direct descendant of King Clovis – the very Merovingian king he had studied for years. This is his debut novel.
Price : $9.99 AUD for the eBook
Publisher : Bassano Publishing House
Genre : Fiction/ Legend/ Mythology/Action & Adventure
No. of Pages : 416