Chaos in Milan

Book Three of the Night Flyer Trilogy

by Edale Lane

Chaos in Milan - Edale Lane - Night Flyer
Part of the Night Flyer series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
ISBN: 9798578153334
Size: 5.50 x 7.50 in
Pages: 232
Paperback: $ 14.99
ISBN: 9798578153334
Size: 5.50 x 7.50 in
Pages: 232

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them. The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?

Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like action and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a sweet romance, then you’ll want to complete the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy of Chaos in Milan today!

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Genres:
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Pairings: F-F, M-F
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Lesbian, Straight
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 3 Age: 36-45
Word Count: 83,806
Setting: Milan, Italy and Florence, Italy
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Excerpt:

Madelena found herself winded by the time they departed an old dirt road to traipse through knee high grass to the dilapidated wood-plank structure with an obvious hole in its roof. She was indeed thankful for the sensible shoes. Once inside, she set down the bag containing their lunch and wineskins, and settled herself onto a wooden barrel to catch her breath. The scent of rotting hay permeated the space which offered an abundance of natural light through the open double doors, cracks between siding planks, and the gap overhead. Cobwebs draped the corners, and dry balls of petrified horse manure littered the earthen floor.

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Her initial excitement was rekindled as she beheld Fiore change into the black silk tunic and tight leather trousers that never failed to kindle her passion. She brimmed with anticipation while Florentina laced the soft-soled footwear over the bottoms of her leggings. With no need of a mask and cowl, Maddie enjoyed a full view of her face and long brunette braid.

Eyes glowing, Maddie purred, “Seeing you in that attire takes my breath away and inspires me to… well,” she added blushing. “I promised to let you work.”

Florentina flashed her a grin. “Happy to please you, my dear.” Then she proceeded to race toward a reinforced portion of the rear wall and up it, running one, two, three vertical steps up the planks followed by a backflip, landing on her feet in the powdery dust. Maddie’s eyes flew wide as she had not imagined such a feat was even possible.

She witnessed Fiore scale ropes up the sides of walls, swing from one to another, hang upside-down with her ankle wrapped in a cord, and run, hop, leap, and climb over every inch of her lair. Observing the tall, lean frame of her children’s tutor pass from one athletic exploit to the next with the dexterity and strength of an Olympian set her heart racing with desire, but also terrified her. Maddie knew that she would do these same exercises at great heights and risk to her person. A fall here may hurt a little, but a fall from a three-story building… don’t think about it!

After a bit, a sweaty Florentina, breathing heavy from her exertion, walked over for a sip to drink. “Mi Tesoro!” Maddie exclaimed. “I knew you could do things, but you are truly magnificent. How did you ever-”

“Practice,” Fiore answered as she wiped her face with a cloth. “Much practice and determination.”

Next, Florentina withdrew her multi-fire crossbow from her shoulder bag. “You invented that,” Maddie said as a half statement, half question.

Fiore nodded. “It was Master Leonardo’s idea, in a way,” she replied with a shrug. Florentina then fired off eight shots in rapid succession at eight separate targets situated around the barn. Some were painted circles, others sets of clothing stuffed with straw, and a few burlap sacks filled with sand that hung from cords. Fiore retrieved her bolts and reloaded the weapon.

“You hit every one!” Maddie gushed in amazement.

“Yes, but I’ve practiced with these marks for months,” the skilled vigilante replied as though unimpressed with herself. “Moving targets or hitting them while I’m running is more difficult.” Florentina pushed the burlap sacks so that they each started to sway in different directions and at varying speeds, then raced across the barn, pivoted, and began to fire. She first shot at the moving targets, then fired at the dummies as she ran traversed the dirt floor. “See,” she said, motioning as she skidded to a halt in front of Madelena. “I hit that one in the knee—I was aiming for its shoulder. And that bag?” she motioned. “I was supposed to strike the green circle, not just anywhere on it.”

“But still,” Maddie replied in amazement. “You hit every target, even if not in the spot you intended. That is quite astonishing.”

Florentina smiled, bent down, and placed her lips to Maddie’s. “Grazie,” she said. “Now, I want to show you something new,” she announced, a twinkle in her bright, tawny eyes. Madelena stood and followed Fiore over to where she had set her bag; the barrel was getting uncomfortable, anyway.

Fiore withdrew a polished wooden case, set it on a rickety work table, one of the few excuses for furniture in the barn, and opened it with care. “I found these when I went into the Oriental shop to acquire more opium.”

Maddie frowned. “I didn’t know you use that drug.”

“Oh, I don’t,” Fiore assured her. “Only for medicinal purposes and to subdue city watchmen without causing them any actual harm.”

“I’ve been in that shop,” Madelena commented. “They have some unusual merchandise and a few very popular items. I purchased one of those painted silk fans that are in fashion.”

Florentina nodded. “They have nice things.” Then, from the plush black velvet interior of the box, she retrieved a silver five-pointed star about three inches long. The edges appeared sharp and Fiore held it judiciously in her gloved hand.

“What is it?” Maddie asked.

“The shop owner didn’t know,” Florentina answered with a sly grin. “But I had read about these in an obscure book on Oriental weapons. It’s a Chinese throwing star. There are five in the set.”

“A throwing star,” Maddie echoed as she moved in for a closer look.

“The Spaniard threw a knife at me in the Pantheon,” Fiore recalled. “Throwing-knives are deadlier, can do more damage than these, but it is a skill that is difficult to master. With the star, I have five small blades rather than one longer one with which to hit my target. They are good to distract or throw a foe off balance. Strikes to the eye or weapon hand are debilitating and may take an enemy out of the fight. Because the tines are short and cannot penetrate deep into flesh, only a strike to the big artery in the neck or severing the windpipe in the throat can kill. I think these will prove quite useful, but I’ve only been practicing with them for a few weeks.”

With admiration and anticipation oozing through her voice, Maddie sang, “Show me.”

Florentina removed all five stars from the box and positioned herself in the middle of the barn. “Stand behind me,” she instructed as she lifted one from her left hand. “I’ve had no teacher to instruct me, so I had to guess as to how to throw them. I have developed three techniques, hoping to perfect at least one.”

Maddie withdrew, studying her partner’s every move. Florentina gripped the object horizontally in a curled hand with her thumb on top and her forefinger beneath it. Rotating her upper body from the waist, she drew her right arm back then spun, releasing the small weapon with the motion a child may use to toss a pie pan. The star whirled through the air at an astonishing speed until it lodged into the shoulder of one of the dummies. Florentina frowned. “A nuisance hit.”

“But you hit it!” Madelena exclaimed. Florentina continued to practice the move, thrusting at different targets and from varying angles, collecting the projectiles once all five had been expended.

“Semi-successful,” Fiore admitted. “Another way I have tried is a basic overhand throw.” She demonstrated by taking a star in her right hand, holding it vertically, and throwing it as one might a ball, rock, or piece of fruit. Her first attempt landed low on the target, so she adjusted the second by releasing it sooner, gaining better results. After dozens of pitches, Fiore returned to Maddie’s side. “The third method I’ve been trying is trickier, but has far greater potential. I’ll be at this a while if you want to curl up and take a nap.”

“What? And miss witnessing an act no Milanese woman has ever seen?” Maddie exclaimed. “But if you will point them in that direction,” she indicated, “I’ll sit back down over here for a while.” On impulse, she leaned in and kissed Fiore’s lips before retreating to her stool.

She has so much focus and intensity, Maddie contemplated. She is like a force of nature.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Kris Walls on Amazon.com wrote:

The exciting and satisfying conclusion of the Night Flyer Trilogy.

As Florentina hunts down the mystery of the Shadow Guild, The guild also hunts for her. Can The Night Flyer keep those she loves safe and stop the nefarious Shadow Guild before they kill her or worse, their real target. Her love Madelena.

Lane continues to weave history and fiction flawlessly. I love the rich history brought to life throughout this entire trilogy and this installment even has a few historical events that were able to coincide with the plot to further enrich the story.

The action is thrilling as always. Florentina continues to thrive as the Night Flyer with her intellect, determination, skill, and clever inventions. The Night Flyer is essentially a 16th century Batwoman and Florentina fits the role perfectly. I loved getting to see some of her training and see how comfortably she has become in her role as protector. Her journey from vengeance to vigilante to hero is very well done across the series.

The romance continues to blossom as Madelena and Florentina continue to work together and really begin to work toward a future together. I loved the sweet progression of their relationship and it was fun to get to see them working side by side to put a stop to the guild.

I was so happy with the conclusion to this trilogy. Chaos in Milan really brought things full circle and resolved the overall arc of the series while still leaving wiggle room for future stories or even a whole new trilogy (fingers crossed) but also total satisfaction if this is the true finale for the Night Flyer.

I loved this entire series and am continuously impressed with Lane’s ability to create a fictional story full of intrigue, amazing characters, superb action, swoon worthy romance, and historical facts that are not only interesting but also perfectly flow through the story. This is an all around magnificent series and an absolute must read.

Margaret Fisk on Tales to Tide you Over wrote:

This book serves as the culmination of the main arc in the Night Flyer Trilogy. It brings various story lines together from as far back as the first book, Merchants of Milan. Still, the catchup is smoothly inserted into the action, making it possible for the new (or forgetful) reader to understand what’s going on without reading the previous two books first.

As usual, the characters were my favorite part. Madelena (Maddie) refused to be pushed to the side for her safety. Alessandro is open to changing his position based on new knowledge. Florentina (Fiore) is both restricted as a female and employee, and unrestricted thanks to her upbringing. Her choice to continue the Night Flyer’s protection of her city after fulfilling the revenge that set her on this path gives her an outlet as well. Fiore is my favorite of them, unsurprising when I consider her thirst for knowledge, penchant for puzzles, and her clever inventions. I enjoyed most of the characters, with the grand exception being the master villain, though not because he is any less well drawn. Even the assassins offered a bit of amusement at times.

Fiore’s inventor side seems in greater play with this book than the others. It might be a failing of my memory, but I loved seeing her come up with, work out, and then use different inventions in Chaos in Milan. I only remember the last step from the previous books for most cases.

I appreciated Maddie’s development in running the charity house. It isn’t all easy, but she’s making a difference while learning how slow change can be. We see more sides to her through this. Her work in the textiles house, though enough to earn her a full partnership, is more told than shown.

I have been afraid for Antonio, Alessandro’s oldest, since he left to join the French army. His development, and the portrayal of war and its effects, is powerful. He is also one catalyst for Alessandro’s growth.

Antonio and Benetto, the villain of the first book, have excellent character arcs. One finds maturity in the horrors of war and the other reclaims his humanity through humiliation.

The cast is quite large, though we already know most of the characters, but each offers something to enhance the explored themes, whether philosophy, love, or change. It’s odd in some ways how change of character is such a dominant theme in the series when change itself is a key component of the chaos philosophy they are trying to squash. Again, it offers a bigger perspective than even the characters see.

The romantic developments are also more in the forefront for this novel. Doubt no longer holds Maddie and Fiore apart, and the strength love and passion bring all the characters is shown on the page. The passion is closed door without detail, however, regardless of the couple involved. Alessandro’s love for his wife and Antonio’s determination to get home to Agnese add to the main love story. Even Benetto’s change of heart, seen in the previous book, grows as he remembers to value his loved ones over power.

Thanks to the manifesto recovered in the previous book, Chaos in Milan has more of the rival philosophies in play between those seeking order and those who want chaos to reign. I enjoyed seeing the different philosophies and how they governed these secret organizations. There’s something to be said for each position, if not for how the Shadow Guild went about it.

The main characters are not so willing to see all sides, nor can I blame them. Fiore, as the Night Flyer, has been facing direct attacks on the woman she loves after all. Still, I enjoyed the analysis of the Shadow Guild’s philosophy and how the main characters saw its flaws and contradictions.

I learned a lot of where Fiore, Maddie, and Alessandro stood from watching them puzzle out the manifesto and compare it to the Shadow Guild’s actions. Nor were the philosophies limited to the secret organizations as the characters were quick to share their opinions and reactions to the events.

Their progress through the manuscript seems a little slow, but then they haven’t been taught crypto puzzles by their older sister. I like how the steps they take, and the work to get there, appear on the page rather than behind the scenes. The seeds to support the narrative and what the main characters learn are present, allowing the reader to work the puzzles too, something I enjoy.

Gender politics are another point of fascination, showing how women of the early 1500s Italian states were active in more than just the home front and charities. The costs of beauty standards, and the belief in traditional marriage as safety and security come up in context of what women were actually doing versus expected to do. This offers a well-rounded sense of the period I appreciated.

The description is heavy for me in places, possibly even more than in the earlier books. At the same time, I already trust the author to give a good story. Also, the description became a fascinating guided art-and-style tour of the period at points. I never thought I’d consider this element part of my enjoyment, but there you have it.

Secrets have played a big part in the series, and this book is no different. Between attempting to discover the meeting place of the Shadow Guild and keeping Alessandro’s connections from Maddie, the theme behind controlling information, especially to protect loved ones, is still being explored. Some choices I appreciate, but others I understand and still think are the wrong ones. A nice way to explore a difficult concept in all its various twists.

Chaos in Milan offers a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, though with the possibility of additional books in the series. The various relationships have deepened, some characters mature while other change, and the description offers a tour of the period. Antonio brings the consequences of war to life even as the chaos manifesto praises conflict. All this without considering how they must track down the Shadow Guild to end the attempts on Maddie’s life. There is a lot of meat in this novel on many fronts whether you prefer plot, character, or philosophy. How these elements blend and support each other is well done. I have enjoyed the trilogy from start to finish.


About the Author

Edale Lane is an award-winning author (Rainbow Awards, Imaginarium Awards, Lesfic Bard Awards) who also drives a truck. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication regarding research. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. When not driving around North America, she resides with her partner in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Canada.


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