A meticulously documented work, of more scholarly appeal than popular. Against a careful reconstruction of the 14th century, in Italy and Europe, its feuds and murders, the political manoeuvres, the religious and financial questions, etc., is presented the life of the author of the classic Decameron. Though a bastard, he was treated as a legitimate son by his father, who tried to impose upon him a business career which he successfully evaded in favor of literature. His first love, Fiametta, inspired his early writing; his friendship with Petrarch, his admiration for Dante, played their part. His life, his loves, the missions on which he was sent, his work -- all carefully presented. Adequate -- but not inspired.