Cover image for The stars compel
The stars compel
Roessner, Michaela.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : TOR, [1999]

Physical Description:
430 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."

Sequel to: The stars dispose.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Follows the adventures of Catherine de Medici and her personal chef, Tommaso Arista, as they come up with a way to defeat the ambitious schemes of her uncle, Pope Clement, to use her for political power.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this sequel to the author's Stars Dispose (1997), Roessner continues the adventures of Tommaso Arista, young chef to Catherine de' Medici. This time, Tommaso travels from his beloved Florence to the papal courts in Rome, where intrigues abound and Catherine becomes a pawn in the never-ending political games of Clement VII. As in the first volume, where Tommaso carried on an affair with Michelangelo, artists continue to intersect with his life. Here Tommaso meets master goldsmith and self-promoter Benvenuto Cellini, who has his own agenda with the Holy See. Roessner's feel for time and place are as important as her characters to the story's success. She may ignore the larger intellectual issues of the day, but she appreciates the era's artistic ferment. Several recipes for Italian Renaissance dishes add to the depth of the novel's historical setting. --Mark Knoblauch

Publisher's Weekly Review

Roessner's sequel to her historical fantasy The Stars Dispose brilliantly recreates Renaissance Italy and brightly imagines the love of young Catherine de' Medici for her distant cousin Ippolito in the face of nefarious attempts by her uncle, Pope Clement VII, to marry her to the younger son of the King of France. As her vastly powerful family's sole legitimate heir, Catherine represents the choicest of political/marital plums. Seen through the eyes of Tommaso Arista, her chef-in-training and protagonist of this succulent period piece, Catherine is also a formidable young sorceress, able to envision the multiple futures for which she serves as linchpin, accompanied by her Little Kitchen Goddess, incarnate in the centuries-old tortoiseshell cat, Gattamelata. TommasoÄheir through both his parents to a long tradition of Florentine cuisine whose roots are enmeshed with white and black magicÄstudies the noble political art of Castiglione's Book of the Courtier, the goldsmith's art under the illustrious Cellini and the sublime in art and life from the ultimate master, Michelangelo, who is his lover. Tommaso becomes Catherine's familiar, a loyal being who catalyzes her supernatural powers as she and her own star-crossed lover struggle against their fate. This rapturous feast for the senses presumes too much knowledge of its predecessor to be successful on its own, but Roessner's handy glossary helps untangle her huge cast of historical and fictional characters. Most satisfying of all of this hearty novel's mingled flavors is the sprezzatura, or easy grace of the loving master, with which Roessner concocts her luscious Italian settings, replete with recipes that even on the page breathe the seductive scents of Tuscany: Bellissima. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Forced to leave her native Florence to reside in Rome under the watchful eye of her kinsman, Pope Clement VII, 11-year-old Catherine de'Medici resolves to use her talents to wrest control of her destiny from those who would use her as a pawn in their political games. Aided by Tommaso, her private chef and personal confidant, Catherine plunges headlong into a maelstrom of intrigue and magic. Roessner's vivid evocation of an alternate Renaissance Italy shaped by the arcane sciences of astrology, necromancy, and sorcery abounds in meticulous period detail without slighting the nuances of personality that give her characters depth. Fans of historical fantasy should enjoy this engrossing sequel to The Stars Dispose. Recommended for most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.