• But that day it was raining, and since they couldn't very well sit on the rooftop in the rain to watch the flotilla parade, they stayed in the little room that led to the roof. It had just one tiny window through which the gray light of day filtered in. They sat on the floor, and Lorenzo's senses were aroused by the sound of the rain falling outside, the musky smell of his own body, and the fragrant scent of Caterina's hair. A single blonde strand wound down her slim neck.They kissed, taking off their rain-washed summer clothes so that their bodies pressed, naked, against one another. Long, delicate lovemaking. Caresses, kisses, shivers, and sighs of delight.Lorenzo would have gladly spend the rest of his life preserved in that single moment, as if in amber, abandoning reality to live in the memory of that one single day

    Riccardo Bruni
  • Are you afraid a demon has escaped Hell in order to descend upon the Venetians?""I think there are a few who'd deserve it, but I'm also a man of science, and I believe that we all carry our own private infernos inside ourselves."-Conversation between Majid and Mathias

    Riccardo Bruni
  • I don't know what you're getting yourself into," said Majid, "but I know I don't like it. Some things in Venice are pure poison." Majid's eyes looked like they could bore through a stone wall. "If someone has put you on a demon's tracks, you'd better make sure the demon doesn't find you first.""What's that supposed to mean," asked Mathias."It means behind every hand stained with blood there's another, and that one stays clean." Majid leaned in close, lowering his voice to a whisper. "What I'm saying is that behind a demon, there's always someone holding the creature on a leash

    Riccardo Bruni
  • He thought back to everything that happened the night before: the hooded men, the chase, his tired heart and weak legs. The very moment in which Mathias realized it was over, when he'd decided to sacrifice his own life in order to save the young man by his side, the monk had found something fundamental inside himself. Deep in his soul, in that hidden place that can only be discovered when a person finds himself poised on the edge of the abyss, gasping what he thought was his last breath, he'd suddenly seen it. Only then did he realize what he held dearest in his heart. Because the last thing to cross his mind, what he'd thought about the moment he'd spun around, prepared to impale himself on the blade, had been a face. No thoughts of God or faith or any other saint. A face. That's when everything became clear

    Riccardo Bruni
  • That's what lay behind the feud under way in the Republic: a battle between different noble family factions in a fight for power. Serving this side or the other was of no interest to Mathias. But the consequences of a Venice under the Pope's direct control weren't at all to his liking. His beloved books would be burned by ignorant, avid priests. Men like Malachia would win.It was the same old struggle. The same fight Gheorg had chosen, the same fight that might take him to Wittenberg. But he wouldn't clear the way for Alexander VI. With what little strength he possessed, even though he was nothing more than a pawn of a chessboard, that extended farther then he could see, Mathias would help those in power smash what had all the makings of a major plot, one designed to overturn the government in power in La Serenissima. And these thoughts allowed the monk to find the first answer to the many question with which he still felt burdened.He and the Borgias did NOT share the same Church

    Riccardo Bruni
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