© The Financial Times Ltd 2016
FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
The Financial Times and its journalism are subject to a self-regulation regime under the FT Editorial Code of Practice.
Last updated: May 14, 2012 4:54 pm
Irenicon, by Aidan Harte, Jo Fletcher Books, RRP£18.99, 584 pages
Harte’s debut novel, Irenicon, is set in an alternate Renaissance Italy where the Earth has been half-drowned by flooding and where magic and technology are intertwined.
Rasenna is a city divided by a river that flows uphill. On one side lives a cabal of engineers bent on world domination, on the other a set of aristocratic families crippled by infighting. The river itself is inhabited by water spirits, eerie sentient columns of fluid. Harte has terrific fun setting up Borgia-esque intrigues among the various factions and watching them play out. Whether this is as much fun for the reader is another matter – the opening chapters drag.
Things pick up, however, as the engineers, known as Concordians, attempt to bridge the river, sparking conflict. At the heart of it all is young Sofia Scaglieri, skilled martial artist and the future Contessa of Rasenna. In her capable hands lies the city’s fate and, presumably, the direction of the next two books in this trilogy.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.