Pasquale’s Angel

Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 30, 1997

Pasquale’s Angel by Paul J. McAuley

Attendees: A. T. Campbell, III; Shirley Crossland; Fred Duarte; Jeff Rupley; Willie Siros; Lori Wolf.

We had a good discussion of Pasquale’s Angel, an alternate history set in a Renaissance Italy where Leonardo concentrated on engineering instead of art. The story starts with a series of mysterious deaths being investigated Holmes-and-Watson style by Niccolo Macchiaveli and a young artist named Pasquale. Along the way they encounter political intrigue, many other famous folks from the time period, and some amazing inventions.

We all finished this book easily, and were quite happy with McAuley’s writing style. The story was engrossing and well-told. The points of departure from our own history were related clearly but subtly. The artist’s lifestyle led by Pasquale seemed realistic, and it surprisingly was like the lives of contemporary artists. Interesting political issues motivated the plot.

We ended by comparing this book with Jack Dann’s The Memory Cathedral, a Renaissance SF novel that we read a couple of years ago. While both books had much to offer, we all preferred Pasquale’s Angel and would recommend it highly.

— A. T. Campbell, III