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Reviewed By: Josh Dale


The Ballot boy is one epic story history, filled with loyalty, betrayal, lies and deception. We follow the story of Nico a fourteen-year-old poor boy, who is chosen to be the new Doge’s Ballot boy, which is kind of an assistant (think of Merlin with King Arthur without the magic), and his only true confident.

The Doge who himself is chosen by his predecessors Council, Andrea Contarini, is chosen and is pretty much forced to take the role of Doge.


The Doge uses his wisdom to teach Nico strategy, and how to stay afloat in the politics of the kingdom.

They are faced with many of the council plotting against them as well as rebellious neighbour and an Austrian Prince itching to start a war and claim Venice and its ports for his own.

We watch Nico grow from a naive young boy to A wise man before his age. Can Nico and the doge use their wisdom and knowledge to beat an enemy that could crush them.

We are taken on lavish ceremonial parades full of colour, we see Nico in the face of bloody wars. And his first taste of lust for the Lord Astolfo of Castle Mocco, as he pleads for the king’s assistance vital key to Venice’s survival.

The story is told in vivid colour and fully dimensional world. The main characters are strong men with wisdom that out does many of their enemies but is it enough to defeat the Austrians and at what cost to Nico personally.

Before writing this review, I did a little research on how the political system of the Kingdom of Venice worked in the 1300’s. If I am honest, I half expected to find the system in the story to be made up. I am so wrong; the author certainly did his homework in researching and conveying a very complicated system to make it not only easy to follow but also interesting to read.

There is danger at every corner, and every step taken could be fatal to them both.

Oh, blast I am going to break a promise I made to myself when starting this review. If you enjoyed Game of Thrones or love epic battle movies such as Troy and Alexander, the great. This is the book that you should read next.

I know it is early in the year, but I will be surprised if this is not my favourite read of 2022 come December.

If Epic historical kingdoms, battles, and political games of betrayal is your thing, then if you only buy one book this year, buy THE BALLOT BOY.

I am so excited to read the next book in the series, I feel like a child on Christmas eve waiting for Santa to deliver presents. I guess my wait is going to be a little longer while the author writes the next book.


Larry was born in Los Angeles and educated in literature, political science, and life at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked as a printer and journalist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Larry also worked with Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground on the Exploding Plastic Inevitable in NY, Provincetown, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, was mentored by Dean Koontz, and shared a palazzo in Venice with international opera singers Erika Sunnegårdh and Mark Doss.”

While living in Venice for many years, Larry also taught English, led tours, and immersed himself in the history and art of the Venetian Republic. The Ballot Boy was born in Venice and completed in St. Paul.

Larry is a lifelong social activist and writer, a voracious reader and researcher, an opera fanatic, and devoted walker. He currently lives in St. Paul with his partner of twenty-one years and his ex-wife of twenty-five years. His son is a pianist devoted to blues and jazz.

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