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Based on the plays of William Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, and the history of Italy, the Star-Cross'd Series is a tale of wars won, friendships lost, and conspiracies both mortal and stellar, an epic journey into the birth of the Renaissance that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett.



Romeo & Juliet is the greatest love story ever told. Every story has a beginning. 

Italy, 1314. Pietro Alaghieri, eldest son of the poet Dante, arrives with his wandering father at the court of Verona's charismatic ruler, Cangrande della Scala. At once he's swept into a war between Verona and Padua, as well as an infernal plot against Cangrande’s bastard heir. While braving duels, races, and battles, Pietro finds himself embroiled in a rivalry between two friends, Capulet and Montague, over the affections of a girl - a rivalry will sever a friendship, divide a city, and spark a feud that will someday produce Shakespeare's star-cross’d lovers. 


A sweeping novel of Renaissance Italy.

David Blixt bursts onto the historical fiction scene with this masterful tale of adventure, love, and intrigue -- this is high adventure at its best, an epic novel filled with the breathtaking feats and evanescent beauty of the early Renaissance.

C.W. Gortner


A novel of intricate plot, taut narrative, sharp period detail and beautifully realized characters.



Italy, 1325. Eight years after the tumultuous events of THE MASTER OF VERONA, Pietro Alaghieri is living in exile in Ravenna, enduring the loss of his famous father while secretly raising Cesco, bastard heir to Verona's prince, Cangrande della Scala. But when word of Cangrande's death reaches him, Pietro must race back to Verona to prevent Cesco's rivals from usurping his rightful place. But young Cesco is determined not to be anyone's pawn. Willful and brilliant, he defies even the stars. And far behind the scenes is a mastermind pulling the strings, one who stands to lose - or gain - the most. 


Born from Shakespeare's Italian plays, this novel explores the danger, deceit, & deviltry of early Renaissance Italy, and the terrible choices one must make just to stay alive.

For anyone who has not yet read one or more of David's novels, you are about to hit the literary lottery. Yes, he is that good. In his hands, history comes to bright, blazing life.

Sharon Kay Penman


Dante's Italy and the internecine, blood-feuding struggle of the dominant families of the northern city states. This story of corruption and the quest for power is as compelling as Mario Puzo's Godfather and as thrilling as any of Rafael Sabatini's historical adventures.

Peter Tremayne




Italy, 1326. While the brilliant and wily Cesco is schooled in his new duties at the hand of a hard master, Pietro Alaghieri travels to Avignon, current seat of the Papacy, to fight his excommunication. He doesn't know an old foe has been waiting to ruin Pietro's life and seize control of Verona itself. Back in Verona, separated from everyone he trusts, Cesco must confront his ambitious cousin, a mysterious young killer, and the Holy Roman Emperor himself. A harrowing series of adventures reveal a secret long hidden, one that threatens Cesco's only chance for true happiness.


Inspired by Shakespeare, Dante, and Petrarch, full of Renaissance intrigue and passion, this third novel in Blixt's acclaimed Star-Cross'd series reflects the heights of drama, exploring the capricious whims of lady Fortune, who has her favorites - and her fools.

This is one of the most exciting, and satisfying, reads that I have immersed myself in for a long time. David Blixt is a gem of a writer.

Helen Hollick




Italy, 1328. Verona has won its war with Padua, but lost its war with the stars. The young prodigy Cesco now turns his troubled brilliance to darker purposes, alienating friends and family by embracing a riotous life, challenging not only the lord of Verona and the Church, but the stars themselves.


Trying desperately to salvage what's left of his spirit is Pietro Alaghieri, knight and newly-named Count. But even as Pietro reaches heights he had never dreamed of, his heart breaks as he watches his foster son spiral into dissolution and despair. For once Pietro welcomes the many plots and intrigues of the Veronese court, hoping they will shake the young man out of his torpor. But when the first body falls, it becomes clear that this new game is deadly, and will lead only to doom them all.



Some stories are part of a grand narrative. Some are smaller, insular, intimate. Yet no less deserving to be told. Taken together, these pieces form a tapestry of life, love, and longing in early Renaissance Italy. At their heart are the false faces people wear to hide their true selves. Like the Venetian Carnivale masks, they are hardened, often grotesque, always mischievous. These are the Varnished Faces.


Collected here are several short stories from the acclaimed Star-Cross'd series set both within Verona and the world outside its wall. Join Dante's son and Shakespeare's most mercurial creation as they live, love, and lose, seeking their hearts' ease.

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