Reviews

"Combining the timeless allure of action and young-love romance with the historically accurate and turbulent life of the painter Caravaggio, this story succeeds on all levels. (Historical fiction. 12-15)" ~Kirkus (Starred Review)

"...plenty of action and romance..." ~Booklist

"In his debut work, Smith immerses readers in the fractious political environment and the economic disparities of the painter's time by detailing the sumptuous food and clothing available to the wealthy, the tensions between Caravaggio and his patrons, and the cloak and dagger of the artist and his pursuers. Readers see the less fortunate through Beppo's eyes: "Why is it that, when you are poor, no one offers you the least morsel—but when you are rich and powerful, everyone wants to give you something for free?" Art techniques, from the use of a cadaver to make Caravaggio's rendering of a subject realistic to the purchase and preparation of art supplies and paintings, are also richly portrayed." ~School Library Journal

"With its twenty short chapters, first person point of view and smattering of Italian words, teenage readers will feel at one with the character of Beppo. . . . Author, Mark David Smith, has written a swashbuckling novel that is sure to win the imaginations of teen readers." ~Buzz Words Magazine

"The story is told by Beppo himself with plenty of humour and energy. It is full of details that bring the period to life, from the scraping of wine barrels to the operation of a camera obscura in Caravaggio’s studio." ~Historical Novel Society

"An overwhelming sense that the author was actually there and saw the events he describes in this excellent historical novel . . . make this a compelling read. The characters are superb, particularly Beppo, and a thoroughly believable Caravaggio, of course. Terrific." ~Books Monthly

"... juvenile readers, especially those who enjoy hearing of sword fights and pirates, will appreciate this book." ~Winnipeg Free Press

"Smith has done an excellent job of presenting a complex artistic personality...[and] displays considerable artistry in his smooth blending of the politics, technology and customs of 17th century Italia to make a compelling tale. The quotations from such luminaries as Dante Alighieri, Horace, Machiavelli and Petrarch, which set off each chapter, elevate the novel and add to its ring of authenticity. Caravaggio: Signed in Blood quietly educates while keeping readers on the edges of their chairs. Highly Recommended. ****/4 "~CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Caravaggio Signed in Blood provides a convincing story about a specific period of Caravaggio's life but enhances that tale by incorporating the swashbuckling and romantic adventure of an indentured teen boy." ~Canlit for Little Canadians

"[Mark David Smith] has much to share, and does it in a way that allows us a clear look at a complex artist and his work, while never overpowering his story with too much information. We come away from the reading with knowledge of a life very different from our own, knowing a great deal more about the customs of Italy so long ago, and with elegant quotations we might add to our own gathering list." ~Sal's Fiction Addiction

"...[T]his book was a great read. Details in the description of characters, and history were very well written by the author. Once I started reading the book, I could not put it down until it was finished." ~Professor Owl's Book Corner, Book of the Month (March 2015)

"In his fast-paced debut teen adventure novel Caravaggio: Signed in Blood, Burnaby English teacher Mark Smith picks up the story of Caravaggio’s tempestuous life just before Caravaggio kills a man in a street fight." ~BC BookWorld


Other Mentions:

Church for Vancouver

Burnaby NewsLeader

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