A compelling story of intrigue, passion, and murder in the Medici Court, from the author of The Flower Reader and The Second Duchess.
Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Sarah Dunant. Florence, 1574Fighting for survival in the teeming city of Florence, Chiara Nerini sets out to sell her dead father's rare alchemical equipment.
Instead she is imprisoned and forcibly initiated as a virgin acolyte by the alchemy-obsessed Prince Francesco, heir to the red lily crown of the Medici. Francesco believes her purity to be an essential element in his quest for eternal life.
He will keep her in luxury, but his price is her freedom and a vow of celibacy that can be broken only by death. Chiara must seek a safe path through the labyrinth of Francesco's deadly court.
But to do so means to cast her lot with the mysterious English alchemist who calls himself Ruanno.
Can Chiara trust him with her secrets... even her love... or will he prove to be her most treacherous enemy of all?