David by Mary Hoffman, published by Bloomsbury on 4th July 2011
Michelangelo’s statue of David is famous around the world. Millions flock to Italy every year to admire the physical perfection of the young man captured within the marble. But the identity of the model has never been known...until now. In this epic tale, acclaimed author Mary Hoffman imagines the story of Gabriele, a naïve but incredibly handsome young man who is hired as Michelangelo’s model, only to find himself drawn into a world of spies, political treachery, and murder. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Florence in its most turbulent times, this is a rich, colorful and thrilling tale that gives life to one of the world’s greatest masterpieces.
This book combines beautiful imagery, vivid descriptions and sensuous detail. 'David' by Mary Hoffman vividly recreates the sense of what Italy and Florence in particular must have been like in 1501 when the city was split by two warring factions: the pro-Republicans and the pro-Medici supporters. Hoffman uses this period in time as a backdrop for her novel which combines historical detail with fictional imaginings. I'm a massive fan of historical fiction and Mary Hoffman is the queen of this genre. It did take me a little while to get all the names of the characters straight in my head and to acquaint myself with this particular period but once I had, I was literally swept away.
The book is centred around the story behind the famous statue of David. Mary Hoffman explores the character on which the statue could have been modeled and provides an insight into why it was so significant at the time.