Artists and Assassins
The Third Adventure of Leonardo da Vinci
and Niccolo da Pavia
Can Leonardo escape an assassin
What does Cesare Borgia want with him
Will Leonardo’s workshop be targeted by Vandals
The assassination of the young husband of Lucrezia Borgia in Rome and the vandalism of the best Florentine art trigger the action in George Herman’s third historical novel, ARTISTS AND ASSASSINS.
Leonardo and Niccolo return to Florence to find a large fully equipped botteghe, workshop, supplied by Cesare Borgia. Leonardo is uncomfortable accepting anything from the warlord. He suspects the Duke has an ulterior motive and this “kindness” will come with a price to be paid.
In Florence at this time vandals are mutilating famous art works by Uccelo, Botticeli, Donatello and others. Members of a Dominican order, former followers of Savanarolla known as “Mourners”, are suspected of the destruction of these artifacts but there is no proof. Leonardo is determined not to get involved after his adventures in Milan (A Comedy of Murders,Tears of the Madonna) where he made a deadly enemy of Isabella d’Este, Marquesa of Mantua.
Soon after returning to Florence Leonardo and Niccolo notice the dark figure in a black hooded cape seems to appear out of nowhere. The Marquesa is exacting her revenge by sending an assassin to kill Leonardo. Machiavelli suggests that only another professional could handle this assassin and has Cesare arrange for Lucrezia’s professional protector to remove the threat. The Maestro’s debt to Cesare is increased when he reluctantly agrees.
The vandalism of art work continues and eventually when Botticelli’s Primavera is destroyed Leonardo cannot stand by any longer. His investigation into the vandalism places him in mortal danger.
He is kidnapped, the target of another assassination attempt and finally discovers the surprising motive behind the desecration.
He must go to Rome to gather the proof he needs.
Once again Leonardo approaches Cesare to open doors for him in Rome. A search of the Medici Palazzo reveals the reason behind the vandalism and puts Leonardo in peril not only from the powerful Medici Family but the ever vindictive, Isabella d’Este.
Cesare again comes to the Maestro’s aid arranging for his disappearance.
The final debt to be paid is revealed in the next book, Toys of War.