Florence, 1559: a city of opportunities for men who have the guts to pursue them. Here, struggling artists find rich patrons, visionary architects create their dreams, ruthless mercenaries get lucrative contracts, and shrewd merchants become as powerful as kings.
Ever since the times of Cosimo the Elder, the bankers, the Medici, have ruled this city. Sure, way back then it was still called a democracy, but the art, the armies and the votes were all paid with Medici money. The words of the heretic monk Savonarola shook the consciences for a brief time, bringing back a glimpse of the Republic; but the Emperor and the Pope put the Medici back in charge, with Duke Alessandro.
Upon the Duke’s assassination twenty-two years ago, the merchants and lords of the city enthusiastically welcomed young Cosimo, the barely seventeen years old son of the mercenary warlord Giovanni delle Bande Nere, who had never lived in Florence. The nobles saw him as inexperienced, weak, and an easy puppet to manipulate.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.