In 15th century Tuscany, Leonardo da Vinci is a boy snared by the past and caught between two families. His first taste of a father’s authority comes when he is seized from his mother and taken to Vinci by a stranger, a man named Ser Piero, his father. Leonardo tries to run away only to realize he must accept the conditions set forth by the man who has the power to decide his fate.
An unexpected day arrives when Leonardo must choose between his parents: He can return to live with his beloved mother in her poverty-stricken home, or turn to the allures of Florence—and his emotionally distant father.
Consumed by the need to prove he is a son worthy of Ser Piero’s acceptance, Leonardo goes to Florence and strives to please his father. Yet, Ser Piero will not see Leonardo as his firstborn son anymore than he will release him from his grasp; the man believes one bastard son is better than none, that is, until a son of legitimate birth can take Leonardo’s place.
Leonardo grows weary from years of rejection. He turns to his work and his best friend, Matteo, for companionship and escape. But when Leonardo might finally be able to break free from Ser Piero, he pines for the affections of another impossible love and faces the ultimate test of his loyalty. He could lose Ser Piero forever, or he could deny his first love, for both have the power to save and ruin him as desperation threatens to reveal his secrets.