It is incredibly challenging to piece together the life of someone who lived five centuries ago, about whom so little is known, and whose life became the subject of gossip, vituperation, and legend, captured in archaic language and printed in gothic script, out of which have proliferated thousands upon thousands of creative works. Leo Ruickbie accomplished an extraordinarily difficult task, and, although he was necessarily forced to deduce, infer, and speculate, his process is sound, meticulous, and methodical—as much as it is possible to be with what is available. The prose was enjoyable and informative, but the enjoyment of reading it was partially destroyed by the publisher's decision to compress a four-hundred page book into two hundred pages by means of microscopic font—a font size that, even by today's nearly intolerable standards, was small. Seriously? With a subject that has inspired so many for so long—20,000 books, 700 paintings, 600 operas or musical works—a biography of the man behind the myth would hardly scare anyone interested in the subject by a higher page-count or a higher price. Maybe one day I'll have the chance to publish a new edition the way it ought to have been done!
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