The Malice of Fortune
When Pope Alexander Borgia dispatches Damiata, a beautiful courtesan, to the remote fortress city of Imola in Northern Italy to learn the truth behind the murder of his beloved son, she knows she cannot fail, for the Pope holds her own son hostage. Once there, Damiata falls under the spell of the charismatic Duke Valentino Borgia, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. As the murders multiply, Damiata's search for the killer grows more urgent. And so she enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccol Machiavelli, and an eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci.