by Denise Mina
2442 in stock
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Three Fires is a brisk, pointed and eminently readable account that examines the virtues and failings of a remarkable individual, and helps us see our own world in relation to the late Middle Ages in a way that feels bracingly relevant and alive
a slight but powerful morality tale about souring utopias and the dangers of absolute certainty
Times, Best New Historical Fiction
Perfectly succinct and powerfully stirring, it’s a tour de force of historic fiction, delivered with sparkling style, astute social commentary and the kind of page-turning pace you’d hope for from a rip-roaring thriller
LoveReading, Star Book
Mina gives us literary gold with this reimagining of the Bonfire of the Vanities... exquisite prose'
This little book is beautifully done... remarkable, moving and thought-provoking... a rare achievement
A fascinating book that works beautifully at several different levels
Denise's use of language brings real humanity to her characters... she also breathes humour into her tale
Short, vibrant ... There is no mincing of words here. Mina sees clear parallels between yesterday’s horrors and today’s challenges. Nor does she find comfort in Savonarola’s execution. He was a man who wrote extensively—he is often credited as a source of inspiration to Martin Luther, for example—and for good and for bad, Savonarola's influence is with us now. Powerful stuff
Historical Novel Society
[Mina] writes about the political and religious conflicts of the day with well-informed precision, but she does so with a cheekily contemporary flair... Quite the gut punch for a novel of its slim stature, and one that will have readers pondering the frighteningly short distance between Savonarola’s times and our own
About the Book
In Three Fires, award-winning author Denise Mina re-imagines the 'Bonfire of the Vanities', a series of fires lit throughout Florence at the end of the fifteenth century - inspired by the fanatical Girolamo Savonarola.
Girolamo Savonarola was a Dominican friar living in Florence at the tail end of the fifteenth century. An anti-corruption campaigner his hellfire preaching increasingly spilled over into tirades against all luxuries that tempted people towards sin. These sermons led to the infamous ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ - a series of fires lit throughout Florence for the incineration of everything from books, extravagant clothing, playing cards, musical instruments, make-up and mirrors, to paintings, tapestries and sculptures.
Railing against the vice and avarice of the ruling Medici family, he was instrumental in their removal from power, and for a time became the puritanical leader of the city. After turning his attention to corruption in the entire Catholic Church, he was first excommunicated and then executed by a combination of hanging and being burnt at the stake.
Denise Mina brings a modern take to this fascinating historical story - drawing parallels between the febrile atmosphere of medieval Florence and the culture wars of the present day. In dramatising the life and last days of Savonarola she explores the downfall of the original architect of cancel culture and in the process explores the neverending tensions between wealth, inequality, and freedom of speech that so dominate our modern world.
Denise Mina was born in East Kilbride in 1966. Her first book, Garnethill, won the CWA Dagger for Best First Crime Novel. She has won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year twice, and the MacIlvanney Prize twice. She is a presenter of TV and radio programmes, and appears regularly in the media.
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