Florence, 1469. Lorenzo de Medici has become the head of the family and de facto ruler of Florence. Life is never simple in the deadly world of Florentine and Italian politics. Although passionately in love with a Florentine girl, a dynastic marriage has been arranged with a powerful Roman family, which will strengthen the Medicis’ position. Duty must come before happiness. At the same time Lorenzo’s many enemies are conspiring against him, forming an alliance to destroy him and his family. Torn between love and the demands of a loveless marriage, the realities of wielding power and the compromises of governing, Lorenzo finds himself in a vicious and bloody cycle of events to defend all that he holds dear.
This is the second instalment in Struckul’s series on the House of Medici. The action scenes are well-written and exciting. With an excellent translation by Richard McKenna, a strong plot and well-defined characters, the book brings alive the life and culture of 15th-century Florence. Lorenzo is shown as a caring, well-meaning ruler who is forced by circumstances into decisions which have unfortunate and at times bloody consequences. I am looking forward to the next instalment. Recommended.