2.5 out of 5: The Immortal tracks the long life of Luca Bastardo, who is born in Florence during the Renaissance with the gift (and the curse) of immortality. Over the course of two centuries, Luca experiences first-hand the major events of the Renaissance and interacts with many historical figures. Imagine the Forest Gump of the Florentine Renaissance, and you’ll have a fairly accurate idea of this book.
Clearly, Slatton has done her research, but, unfortunately, she insists on including all of it in the book. Slatton saddles her characters with improbable dialogue and burdens the narrative with lengthy scholarly debates about religion, art, and other topics of the day. Luca’s unnaturally long lifespan feels like a construct to enable Slatton to cover a lengthy historical time period from the point of view of a single character rather than a credible premise for a novel. As a result, The Immortal reads more like a creative history than a novel, but at least the history is interesting.