At the height of the Renaissance, one vibrant city triumphs over the rest of Europe in nearly every aspect of human life: painting, music, architecture, banking, publishing, medicine and manufacturing. Her empire reaches the Black Sea and her trade, Asia. This is the illustrious and famed Venice, fierce in war and passionate in love. Dotting this flourishing city-state, the nobility glitters with sumptuous finery, lush parties and savory meals. Never has there been such an aristocracy as this, the wealthiest circle in this wealthiest of cities. And of these, never has there been a more intriguing woman than one Lady Bianca Capello, who rises to power when vaulting ambition in young ladies is anything but a virtue.
If her soul belongs to her homeland, Bianca's heart belongs to Francesco de' Medici, scion of the richest ruling family in Europe, at once the most powerful and the most glamorous. To the public, the match seems a perfect one-the union of society's two most influential people can only mean glad tidings for politics. To the two lovers, their devotion extends well beyond the politic and into the sublime.
But every rose has its thorn. Evil forces even in her own circles begin to work against Bianca: noblemen plan to humiliate her and a scheming brother-in-law pits his allies against her. Love has been known to conquer all, but Bianca and her beloved never dreamed that would include battles, conquests, espionage, death-wishes and hatred. Love confronts the enemy it never suspected: beauty.