Pietro Alighieri is living in exile in Ravenna, enduring the loss of his famous poetic father while secretly raising Cesco, bastard heir to Verona's prince, Cangrande della Scala. When word of Cangrande's death reaches him, it forces Pietro to race back to Verona and prevent Cesco's rivals from usurping his ward's rightful place.
Young Cesco, however, refuses to be anyone's pawn. Headstrong, willful, and devious, he defies even the stars. Meanwhile, far behind the scenes, a mastermind pulls the strings, moving the players towards a bloody finale.
Born from Shakespeare's Italian plays, this novel explores the danger, deceit, and deviltry of early Renaissance Italy. Filled with swashbuckling adventure, unrequited love, and brutal treachery, this epic journey recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman, and Dorothy Dunnett.