Period pastiche, this novel of the Italian Renaissance in all its profligacy and intrigue, and one in which the period (intentionally) preponderates over plot. Color and costume, politics and adventure, manners and amusements, all carefully recreated in the vernacular of the age. The story in itself is episodic, uneven, that of a lovely Simonetta, accused of murdering her husband by her distrustful brothers, escaping and on the road joining up with a motley collection, including her uncle and Gregorio, complete villain of the piece. They succumb to and survive the plague; they make a pilgrimage to Milan where its Duke gives shelter to Simonetta and falls in love with her. Eventually, having warded off his attempts, she joins Angelo, her true love, and flees with him to France. Pretty difficult reading, unless it is to your taste.