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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Epic birth of a fledgling saga by Jocelyn Righton, The Bay Post, Friday 21st of March, 2014

WITH assassins and mercenaries on the family tree, Elisabetta Faenza couldn’t resist the temptation to write about them.

On March 27, the first book of a trilogy based on her famed ancestors, The Infidel, will be introduced by the author at the Bay Bookshop in Batemans Bay.

As the title suggests, this work of historical fiction takes place during the Crusades, which ended in the 13th century after 200 years of religious fanaticism.

Elisabetta, who lived in Batemans Bay for 25 years and now lives in Mongarlowe, says the original idea to write her epic work came from a project on family history at high school in Canberra.

“My family had a family tree on parchment which came from the Vatican,” she said.

“The family tree traced the Faenza family back to the 12th century, when they arrived in Italy from Faiyum in Egypt. It started a quest to fill in the gaps.”

When the parchment’s text was translated into English, Elisabetta was more than fascinated to find out that the males in the line became mercenaries and assassins, were appointed captains of Verona and Venice, and worked for the Doges of Venice and the Sforza family in Rimini.

From 1989 to the early 1990s, she wrote the original script of the trilogy.

Advised that Australian publishers weren’t interested in non-Australian content, she sent a sample to agents in the UK and US, where it was picked up by a literary agent in California.

“They said a film company was interested,” Elisabetta said.

“I then sent the entire script but the company vanished and, unbeknown to me, it was passed around Hollywood under another name and the film rights were sold.”

The fate of her work was brought to her attention by a newspaper article about the most expensive film ever planned at that time, but shelved because of an unwieldy script and a budget blowout.

Bells began to ring when she made further investigations and realised it was her story.

“I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to play the protagonist, but I don’t know why because the character is North African,” she said

A letter from her lawyers to the production company informing it of her authorship and with an offer to help with the script was met with the news of its bankruptcy.

Elisabetta was so disillusioned she swore off writing fiction for the next 10 years, though she did write the libretto for Bay Theatre Players’ production of D’Arc, The Legend of Saint Joan in 1998.

“When I met my new partner, John Duffy, I didn’t have any money so I wrote him a story for a Christmas present,” she said.

“He was working offshore and he and his workmates kept asking for more stories.
I showed John the script of The Infidel and he was so impressed he encouraged me to pursue it.”

She reworked the entire script, broke it into three parts and, once again, tried her luck.

This time, it was a perfect run. The book was accepted by a reputable US publisher, Strategic Books, is now in print and negotiations are under way for it to be translated.

“It’s a dream come true that people are finally able to read it - and enjoy it,” she said.

Elisabetta takes a realistic view of her place among writers.

“I wouldn’t describe myself as a literary giant – I’m a storyteller,” she said.

“My stories are really fast-paced, have a lot of adventure and are a little bit naughty. They are an alternative romp through history!”

The Infidel is part one of The Condottiero Trilogy, which is but just the first trilogy of the Kingmaker Saga.

Part two, Veritas, about the fall of Constantinople, will be published later this year, and part three, The Assassin, swings back to the life and times of St Paul, will follow.

Elisabetta said she was very grateful to Vince and Glenda Heys.

“They were the first people to read it, and were really encouraging all those years ago,” she said.

With Elisabetta at Bay Bookshop will be her very good friend the Hon Dr Margaret Reid AO, an ACT senator for 25 years, who will speak at the gathering.

They first met in 1983 when Elisabetta was the Queen of Canberra for her fundraising and work for people with a disability in the ACT.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Bookshop, in Orient Street, from 5pm.

An RSVP is not essential but would be appreciated to 4472 6338.

The Infidel can be bought online from the publishers:

or through Amazon:

For more news about The Infidel see:

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