Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.
Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.
Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.
Don’t let the summary fool you! This first book is more of an adventure than a love story. Two seemingly demon-related mysteries plague medieval Italy and Luca is on a mission to discover the truth and either rid the world of the Devil or find (early) scientific reason for the phenomena. Each character was distinctive and an absolute joy to read! Luca’s level-headed reason, Freize’s comical and loving commentary, Ishraq’s fierce and loyal defense, and Isolde’s quiet yet passionate demeanor.
Luca and Isolde experience two adventures together in this first book: witchcraft mystery and accusations, and later a werewolf accusation in a nearby village. Nothing truly surprised me in this book, bits of it were predictable, but I thoroughly enjoyed the reasoning behind the justice and truth in the 1400s mindset. God is first for these people. He is their religion, their politics, their lifestyle. Any difference in beliefs or lifestyle calls into question heresy or, as the Pope is fearing, the end of the world, the coming of the Devil himself.
Complete with chapter drawings and maps, this young adult adventure was a thrill to read and an absolute joy for my day!
Rating: ★★★★ of 5
Goodreads: 3.46 of 5