Dependable and colorful romanticized history, in a story of adventure under the Sforza and Borgia banners. In the game for power, Cesare Borgia, with his two famous advisors, his poisoner and the young Machiavelli, was overrunning Italy. The Countess Sforza was almost as insatiable in her greed and arrogance. And red-headed Tizzo, almost invulnerable with his famous ax and ready wit, was almost caught by both. But his father's staunch support, his sweetheart's courage and imagination, bring him through successive close calls as he plays one enemy against the other. Challis is at ease in period escape reading and has built a predictable audience.