Three Fires

Pegasus Crime. Aug. 2023. 144p. ISBN 9781639364558. $22. THRILLER
Mina’s (Conviction) new novel is based on the actual life of Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican friar living in Florence at the end of the 15th century. His vision of campaigning against corruption begins early in his life. As he grows more fanatical, he begins to use the visions of his faith to drive sermons that are beloved by the poor and hated by the powerful. His sermons lead to the infamous “Bonfires of the Vanities,” in which people cast extravagant or luxurious possessions such as books, paintings, fashion, and even mirrors into the flames. Savonarola’s sermons against corruption and vanity catch the attention of the Medici family and the Vatican. Once Savonarola turns his vision to the Pope, he is excommunicated, tortured, and executed. Yet his writings live on to inspire Martin Luther and the coming Protestant Reformation. Mina’s biographical-fiction style draws parallels to modern times and implies that today’s world is not devastatingly new but rather retains a historic tension between inequality, greed, and power.
VERDICT This fast and compelling read is a good historical thriller for readers of history and fiction.
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