Isabella d'Este thinks herself lucky to have escaped her sister Beatrice's faith. Beatrice is to be married to the regent of Milan, about whom little good is said. Isabella's opinion is dramatically altered when she meets the man and his city, in which the famous Leonardo da Vinci is working.
The two sisters become rivals, not just in love, but also in art. Meanwhile foreign forces are threatening Italy and they are both forced to take a stand.
This book provides examples of:
- Backstab Backfire: Isabella's plan of discouraging Beatrice to have herself painted.
- Birds of a Feather: Why Isabella and Ludovico are attracted to each other. She even sends him swans as to underline this trope.
- The Caligula: Gian, though he's not as powerful as some.
- Doing It for the Art: One of the main motives to determine Isabella's actions.
- Friendship Moment: Isabella receiving the refugees from Milan and singing with Lucrezia and Cecilia.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Interestingly enough Isabella is both the popular and the smart sister. Beatrice is the tomboy.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Both sisters are famous for their fashionable clothes.
- The Heretic: Leonardo da Vinci has many ideas that go against the teachings of the church. Since he's also a genius and a popular artist, nobody cares.