Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior

How cool an idea for a book is this?

In the autumn of 1502 three giants of the Renaissance period - Cesare Borgia, Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli - set out on one of the most treacherous military campaigns of the period. Cesare Borgia was a ferocious military leader whose name was synonymous with brutality and whose reputation was marred with the suspicion of incest. Niccolo Machiavelli was a witty and subversive intellectual, more suited to the silken diplomacy of royal courts than the sodden encampments of a military campaign. And Leonardo da Vinci was a visionary master and the most talented military engineer in Italy. What led him to work for the monstrous Borgia? And what attracted him to the cunning Machiavelli? This improbable collusion of three iconic figures of the Italian Renaissance unites three mighty strands of the period - war, politics and art. As each man's life unfolds, so does the Italian Renaissance.
It's not mine, by the way, and if you like the idea, the book already exists. (with the same title as the post). It's written by Paul Strathern and has been fast-tracked to the top of my reading pile. I don't know whether it can live up to the promise of the scenario (scarcely possible, I'd say) but you can see why I'm excited about it. Since The Fall of the Fireduke is likely to feature an extensive miliatary campaign I'm hopeful this can provide some imaginative sustenance.
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