Leonardo Davinci’s genius is undeniable. The mysteries that cloak his work have become the subject of controversy and a great deal of conspiracy theories. Such theories have led to the success of books related to the artist and his work. Leonardo’s Shadow is no exception. Christopher Grey’s first novel attempts to bring to life the story behind Davnici’s Last Supper through the eyes of his servant, Giacomo.
What led me to purchase this book (aside from the sale) was the perspective the author decided to take. The idea of a narration from Davinci’s young servant felt promising. This wasn’t an easy book to get into. I had difficulties with the narrations, which felt halting and lazy. I felt, while reading the book that it required more fluidity in its narration and transitions. Despite the first impression, I decided to stick with it since the Gaskell Book I read prior to Leonardo’s Shadow might have influence my judgment of the narrative style.
Like a younger and more sanitize version of Davinci’s Code, Grey takes as on a spin of mysteries. He doesn’t fail in living us with tiny details to excite out conspiring minds. As the book progresses we are left with exact same questions as our young protagonist. What’s the connection of the mysterious medallion in his sack? Who is Davinci’s Cecilia? Who were the thieves that broke in Master Davinci’s room? Will the flying machine fly? Who were the alchemists? However, despite the potential for a great adventure the pacing was too slow and left me willingly dropping the book to eat, take a bath, and sleep. What could have been a page-turner fell dull. Grey is unable to grab the momentum, sustain it and keep us interested. He ends his chapters without attempting to make his reader greedily read to the next chapter—a good thing when it comes to mystery/adventure novels.
The unraveling of the mystery fall short, like a too long movie chopped around to a sudden poor ending. It felt like most of the plot didn’t matter, everything was just a dream.
The point of view that attracted me to this novel became its weakness. The author was unable to maximize the potential of the first person point of view. For the type of story Grey delivered it would have been better to stick to a non-omniscient third person point of view.
Leonardo’s Shadow had potential, but fell short in the actualizing. It is an interesting enough book, the story behind the Last Supper taken out from this novel would have made an interesting picture book. In fact, the whole book could have done without the other supposed conspiracies.
Grey’s novel is interesting enough if you want to plod through it and learn about Italy in the 1400s. Otherwise, if you are not such a reader then it’s not worth your dime.
This review could have harsh due to the sudden transition from heavy reading and classics to Young Adult Literature.