The Twelve Sisters

Fiction - Intrigue
337 Pages
Reviewed on 12/05/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Steven Robson for Readers' Favorite

The Twelve Sisters by Don Gordon Pierson and David Thompson Dorris is a sweeping epic packed with intrigue, love, personal justice, obscene wealth, greed, crime syndicates, and family bonds spanning centuries. Tailored superbly into three distinct periods, each part deals with an interesting story revolving around 12 paintings. The first is set in the 1400s when an unknown artist created works of art; the second is set in 1975 where events lead to an ongoing plot involving revenge; and the third is set in 2018 where the plot is played out. The background for this amazing tale is Italy and the primary players are Madeleine Costanzo and Bruno Porcelli. Both are extremely intelligent individuals coming from vastly different worlds, who meet by chance at a Monaco Grand Prix. This meeting sets in motion an incredible series of events that will keep the reader spellbound until the high-stakes climax of this amazing adventure.

In The Twelve Sisters, Don Gordon Pierson and David Thompson Dorris have managed to create one of the best dramatic adventures I have read in a long time. Not only is the story compelling and engrossing, but the background created around the Italian way of life and the art world is equally fascinating, clearly indicating a thorough knowledge of these areas. The characters were superb and crafted intelligently to reflect their backgrounds, while the evolving character of Bruno throughout the story was particularly well handled. I also found the writing style to be engaging and one particular event was handled amazingly well. The hit, told from multiple perspectives, was enthralling and helped make this a chilling experience. The book is a quality read at the highest level that I would readily recommend.

Liz Konkel

The Twelve Sisters by Don Gordon Pierson and David Thompson Dorris takes you back to 1975 when Madeleine embarks on a journey to achieve her dreams. Her life quickly takes an interesting turn when she meets the handsome Bruno who turns out to be the heir to a powerful Italian family that has a darkness to their power. Their whirlwind romance abruptly heads into choppy waters when an accident sends Bruno into a darker state of mind. A secret that Madeleine is keeping will make everything clear by the end. The discovery of revenge slowly comes to the surface just as the surprising connection to 15th-century paintings and to the story of Angelina di Fabbro comes to light.

The story has an interesting structure with part one occurring in 1484 which sets up a rich history that carries into part two following the introduction of Madeleine. By the end of the story, the connections between the two parts are revealed and everything comes together for a thrilling conclusion. The historically accurate setting is written with rich details and comes from a real source that inspired this story by Don Gordon Pierson and David Thompson Dorris. The plot strikes an ideal balance between action, drama, mystery, and revenge in a story that is hard to put down. The writing style has a lyrical quality with an evocative tone through details such as detailing the puddles and grimy bones once being part of the attraction and now repulsive, a moment that happened between heartbeats, and an escape raft thrashing in the swell. A surprising literary treat, The Twelve Sisters has a poignant writing style, a tale of revenge, a mystery, and a strong voice.

Maria Victoria Beltran

The Twelve Sisters by Don Gordon Pierson and David Thompson Dorris is an intriguing novel set in Italy from the fifteenth century to the present time. It is composed of three parts namely The Legend, The Family, and The Angel. The story unravels in 1484 AD in Florence with the story of Angelina and Giuseppe, which gives rise to a legend passed from one generation to the next. In 1975, Madeleine Costanzo, a graduate of George Washington University with a master's degree in Italian Renaissance Art, wants to open a prestigious gallery in Monaco. While attending the Monaco Grand Prix, she meets Bruno Porcelli, a scion of northern Italy’s most powerful underworld family. What follows is a series of tumultuous twists and turns that will ultimately authenticate the legend of the angel.

The Twelve Sisters is a story of mystery and suspense. It is about love, revenge, and art. It’s an extremely powerful story with strong, sophisticated female characters and formidable protagonists. I find Angelina and Giuseppe’s story especially fascinating because it creates a gripping mystery right from the beginning of the narrative. The book also gives us a glimpse of how money moves and hype works in the art world. The authors' descriptive literary style is compelling and the plot is amazing. Authors Don Gordon Pierson and David Thompson Dorris deliver a fast-paced, unpredictable ride with clever characters and original intrigue. What distinguishes this story from the others are the thought-provoking predicaments that will keep you guessing, and your fingers flipping. Highly recommended!


What a read! Absolutely gripping.


I enjoyed this book so much. After reading the short intro which is a legend ( is it a real one?), the story moves at a fast pace and I had trouble putting the book down. Highly recommended

James B.

My wife read this and told me I had to read it. Glad she did. Really great plot and great writing.

Gerald Griffin

Really cool plot. I could not put it down. Part I is very short, maybe 20 pages. It is the Legend of San Russo (is it real? seems to be) about Giuseppe, the son of an apothecary in 1400s Florence Italy. He escapes his father's enemies and makes his way in the world using skills he learned from his father. He ends up doing odd jobs for a brothel in a small village. There he paints portraits of 12 of the prostitutes. When he is murdered, the portraits are buried along with him. The daughter of one of the prostitutes writes down the story after her mother tells it to her. Then Part II skips to the 1970s where the legend is discovered by an art student, Madeline. This is the meat of the book where she gets involved with a gangster (it all takes place in Italy). Her career in art is upended as she learns what he is really like. Something happens that I won't give away, which sets up Part III which is about 30 years later. Now one of the 12 paintings has surfaced and the action gets really wild. Like I said, great plot. The characters are believable, memorable. I think this should be a movie. When it ends you really want it to continue.


The Twelve Sisters is an ingenious novel built around a 'real legend', which is itself a fascinating story. This is the type of book that truly draws you into its world - the type of book you don't even realize you're reading because you are so engrossed. I found myself fully engaged with the characters and the development of the story line. The plot moved along at a good pace and was full of twists and turns, a few of which left me absolutely stunned. The authors hint at writing a 'sister book' to this one, and I certainly hope that they follow through with that idea!

Carol Gaddie

Hard to put down; a real page turner!