From Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning Jo Walton comes Lent, a magical re-imagining of the man who remade fifteenth-century Florence—in all its astonishing strangeness
Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.
It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It’s a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It’s a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It’s a miracle that, despite the Pope’s determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he’s still on the loose…and, now, running Florence in all but name.
That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who—or what—he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.
"Rendered with Walton's usual power and beauty...It's this haunting character complexity that ultimately holds the reader captive to the tale." —N. K. Jemisin, New York Times, on My Real Children
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In this powerful, thoughtful historical fantasy, Walton (Starlings) explores the struggle of meaningful redemption. On the eve of Lorenzo de' Medici's 1492 death, Dominican ascetic Brother Girolamo Savonarola prophet and seer of Boschian demons finds a green stone at a Florence nunnery. Only after building political power, negotiating Florence's safety from a French army, establishing his utopian city, and undergoing terrible suffering does Girolamo learn he is not who he thought, and he realizes that the stone is his key to finding hope amid shock and loss. Alongside friends Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino (familiar from Walton's Thessaly trilogy), he begins a struggle to harrow Hell, and changes history and himself. Girolamo's mix of moral rigidity and reflexive kindness makes him a complex yet affecting guide to this intricate set of alternate histories, each rendered gently but with a devastating emotional weight. Fans of Connie Willis and The Good Place will be awed by this nuanced, loving grapple with better selves and better worlds.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Lent is unique and astonishing
Any description of this book would immediately trigger a Spoiler Alert. I will say...an imaginative mashup of historical and speculative fiction set in the late 15th century, the era of Columbus and Michaelangelo. Just read it.