In an age of wonderous beauty and terrible secrets,
one man searches for his destiny...
In the majestic heart of Florence, a beautiful golden-haired boy is abandoned and subjected to cruelty beyond words. But Luca Bastardo is anything but an ordinary boy. Across two centuries of passion and intrigue, Luca will discover an astonishing gift—one that will lead him to embrace the ancient mysteries of alchemy and healing and to become a trusted confidant to the powerful Medicis…even as he faces persecution from a sadistic cabal determined to wrest his secrets for themselves.
But as the Black Death and the Inquisition wreak havoc on his beloved city, Luca’s survival lies in the quest to solve two riddles. One is the enigma of his parents and his ageless beauty. The other is a choice between immortality and the only chance to find his one true love. As Luca journeys through the heights of the Renaissance, befriends Giotto and Leonardo Da Vinci—140 years apart—and pursues the most closely guarded secrets of religious faith and science for the answers to his own burning questions, his remarkable search will not only change him…but will change the course of history.
This debut novel combines history and fantasy, encompassing 200 years in Renaissance-era Florence through the life of one unusual man. Born in the early 14th century, Luca Bastardo was left to make his way alone in the world at an early age. Blessed with unearthly beauty, supernatural longevity, psychic abilities and unpredictable healing talents, he is nevertheless beset throughout his long life by the vengeance of the Silvanos, descendants of the brothel owner he killed in order to escape a life of prostitution. Luca is waiting to meet the great love of his life, glimpsed in a vision and destined to both grant him happiness and spell his doom. Meanwhile, he searches for the truth about his long-lost parents and encounters many of Florence's notables-Giotto, Petrarch and da Vinci among them. The novel aspires to be a sweeping epic, but the plot lacks the heft and narrative flow to succeed. The ending, clearly foreshadowed, is meant to be spiritually uplifting, but some readers might find it pointlessly grim. Slatton provides some effective descriptions and interesting scraps of philosophy, which may bear fruit in a sophomore effort.
I very much enjoyed this book.
Absolutely phenomenal! Is a must to be read.
One of my favorite books! Could not put down. Had the choice to read this book or write an essay for one of my Italian Renaissance classes (guess which one I chose). I LOVED it, AND the author came to our class. She signed my book :)