Format Hardcover
Publication Date 07/04/23
ISBN 9781639364558
Trim Size / Pages 8.25 x 5.5 in / 128

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Three Fires

A Novel

Denise Mina

From the award-winning master of crime fiction, 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 end of the fifteenth century. An anti-corruption campaigner, his hellfire preaching increasingly spilled over into tirades against all luxuries that tempted his followers toward 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 short time became the puritanical leader of the city. After turning his attention to corruption within the Catholic Church, he was first excommunicated and then executed by a combination of hanging and being burned at the stake.

Just as in Rizzio—her latest novel with Pegasus Crime—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 dramatizing the life and last days of Savonarola, she explores the downfall of the original architect of cancel culture and, in the process, explores the never-ending tensions between wealth, inequality, and freedom of speech that so dominate our modern world.

Denise Mina is the New York Times bestselling author of The End of the Wasp Season and Gods and Beasts. Her recent novel Conviction was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick and a national bestseller She is a regular contributor on the subject of crime fiction for television and radio. Denise lives in Edinburgh.

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Endorsements & Reviews

Praise for Denise Mina’s Rizzio:
"Ms. Mina, in her most recent books, has stretched her talent and pushed the genre envelope in stimulating ways. In Rizzio she has created a plus-sized novella with the passion of an opera, a tour de force of imaginative reconstruction.” Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
"Bestseller Mina vividly recreates a gruesome episode from the Tudor era in this searing novella set mostly over the course of a single day, March 9th, 1566. Mina interjects well-wrought characterizations; this superior historical thriller reads like a real-life episode of Game of Thrones." Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Mina’s latest is a taut, provocative novella dramatizing the events around the brutal 16th-century assassination of David Rizzo, private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots. Mina reimagines the poisonous atmosphere that led to the killing and offers readers a darkly poetic vision of life at that bloody court." CrimeReads
"Denise Mina has achieved a near miracle with her novella, Rizzio. It is the type of vivid fiction that directs readers to documented history.” David Rothberg, WBAI Radio
"Stabby and pithy. An intriguing sketch in blood." The Guardian, Book of the Day
"The novella’s suspenseful narrative reveals all of the cruelty and outright brutality of the crime in brilliant detail. Royal history buffs will find this portrait of the bloody evolution of one of the world’s longest lasting monarchies fascinating." Booklist
"The centuries-old murder of a close confidant to Mary, Queen of Scots is retold with thriller-level pacing and a gasp-inducing insight." Shelf Awareness