The House of Medici – Inheritance of Power
How one woman’s devotion helped build the Medici Bank
Ever-loyal Maddalena, a diminutive, blue-eyed, black slave, has borne Cosimo de Medici a son and seen him rise to the position of cardinal.
Now, late in life, she finds herself committed to a convent, as part of a scheme to protect the Medici Bank from ruin by Cosimo’s sons, by hiding a fortune in gold for Cosimo’s grandson, Lorenzo, to inherit.
But as the months go by, and the gold does not appear, her faith in Cosimo begins to wane and with it, her confidence in her own worth. Has she been duped?
Approaching old age, she finds in the abbess a confessor, to whom she can confide her true story and perhaps, at the same time, to convince herself that her life has not been for nothing. But the abbess, too, has objectives of her own, and the two of them may not be on the same side.
The House of Medici – Seeds of Decline
Hell has no fury like a woman scorned
Lucrezia Tornabuoni brought up in the Palazzo Medici alongside Cosimo’s children, always expected to marry his charismatic younger son, Giovanni. But instead she finds herself imprisoned in a loveless marriage with the gout-ridden elder son, Piero.
Like Cosimo, she sees the future salvation of the family in the hands of her own son, Lorenzo the Magnificent, but how can she be sure he inherits the mantle before Piero ruins everything?
For years she has groomed her son to be a great prince, and in the process to ignore the Medici Bank - whose wealth has funded the City and Republic of Florence. But now the economy is faltering, the money is running out, the burdens of leadership are becoming more onerous for her son, and she begins to question whether she has led him astray. Her difficulty is that in the closed society of Florence, thereis no-one she can confide in.
Then, while on a journey away from the city, she is approached by a young priest, Girolamo Savonarola, recently appointed to a teaching post in Florence and asking for guidance about the workings of Florentine society. Is this someone - an outsider - to whom she can tell her true story and who might confirm that her life has not been for nothing?
But Savonarola is not the simple monk he appears; he has objectives of his own, and they may not be compatible with Lucrezia's.