Date Published: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Diversion Books
"A glittering Renaissance gem of a novel. Donna Russo Morin, a master of her craft, has penned an intricate story full of lush historical detail with a plot that will leave you breathless." —Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Death in St. Petersburg
In her final standalone novel featuring Da Vinci's Disciples, Donna Russo Morin delivers a thrilling story of the secret female artists of Florence, under the tutelage of Leonardo Da Vinci, and their heroic, potentially deadly efforts to save great works of art from the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities.
"Illicit plots, mysterious paintings, and Leonardo da Vinci all have their part to play in this delicious, heart-pounding work." —Kate Quinn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network
Lorenzo de Medici is dead, and his son Piero has brought war and famine upon the city of Florence. Yet, the glory that is Renaissance artistry grows more magnificent, as does the work of the women known as Da Vinci's Disciples. Now they face their most dangerous challenge, one shrouded in the cloak of a monk.
From the ashes of war, Friar Girolamo Savonarola rises. Some call him a savior and a prophet, a man willing to overthrow tyrannical rulers and corrupt clergy, the Borgia Pope among them. Fra Girolamo is determined to remold Florence from an avaricious, secular culture to a paragon of Christian virtues.
Many call Savonarola a delusional heretic, incapable of anything but self-serving fanaticism. When he sets out to destroy all secular art forms, Da Vinci's Disciples call him an enemy … but not all of them.
"Like a glorious Italian fresco-richly textured and vividly portrayed … Highly recommended for lovers of history, art, and courageous women." —Anna Lee Huber, bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mysteries
"Donna Russo Morin renders one of the most tumultuous periods in Florence's history in bright colors and with vivid descriptions. This tale of a group of determined women standing up for what they believe in … will absolutely resonate with modern readers." —Alyssa Palombo, author of The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence
“The world is never still;
It moves forward whether we wish it to or not.”
Their faces had changed. Time had marched across some, leaving its tracks. New faces had sprouted like the first crocuses of spring. Yet whatever form they took, they stood by each other as life spun its web
They stood in the sun now, free of the shadows, with its warmth fluttering down upon their shoulders. She had been one of the first, one of the founders, a tender, delicate bloom of wisdom. She had been with them at the other funeral, that of the man whose life had made the transformation in theirs possible. The man who had changed all of Florence, planting seeds of it, reveling in their blossoms, and sharing their glory with the world. He had known the importance of art, had tended to it the way it needed to flourish, as they had flourished.
Together, they had survived as Florence had survived: barely. The Medicis, doomed since the death of Lorenzo “Il Magnifico” de’ Medici, had been ousted. War had weakened Florence’s trunk as well as her branches. And strangeness had descended upon them in the form of a tonsured, cloaked figure, a shadow whose length grew ever longer, all encompassing.
Hope born on audacity and raised on bravery had changed them. As they watched their dearest friend lowered into the ground where her ashes would live forever, they knew they too would remain eternal; they would be, now and forever…Da Vinci’s Disciples.
About the Author
Donna Russo Morin’s passion for the written word began when she was a child, took on a feminist edge as she grew through the sixties, and blossomed into a distinctive style of action-filled historical fiction at a defining moment in her life. As a second-generation American of full Italian descent, Donna combined her historical research with her genealogical studies, finding that her birth name (Russo) and her family roots are traceable to ninth century Florence…the very city in which the Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy is set.
Donna Russo (Morin) is the internationally published author of six multi-award-winning historical novels including PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY: Da Vinci’s Disciples Book One (a finalist in Foreword Reviews BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR), and THE COMPETITION: Da Vinci’s Disciples Book Two (EDITOR’S CHOICE, Historical Novel Society Review). The final book in her Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy, THE FLAMES OF FLORENCE, releases May 8, 2018. Also this summer, my novel, inspired by our own home state, GILDED SUMMERS: A Novel of Newport’s Gilded Age will also release this summer. Her other titles include The King’s Agent, recipient of a starred review in Publishers Weekly, The Courtier’s Secret, The Secret of the Glass, and To Serve a King.
A 25-year professional editor/story consultant, her work spans more than 40 manuscripts. She holds a BA in Communications and an A.A. in English Literature. Donna teaches writing courses at her state’s most prestigious adult learning center, online for Writer’s Digest University, and has presented at national and academic conferences for over ten years. In addition to her writing, Donna has worked as a model and an actor with appearances in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Currently under contract to a consortium of international producers, Donna has added screenwriting to her professional acumen.
Her sons—Devon, an opera singer; and Dylan, a chef—are still, and always will be, her greatest works.