In the tradition of the swashbuckling romances, John Pugh has told a yarn of the days when Florence was a pawn in the hands of traitors, within and without, and the Medicis had yet to come into their own. For those who liked Prince of Foxes (Shellabarger), here is a book to be recommended. Pietro Lucca was meanly born, and thrown out by his father when he was unseemly enough to become involved in a quarrel with a noble. But Pietro was not downed, and by dint of sheer courage and ability became a Captain in the famed Black Bands under Giovanni de'Medici. Pietro's loyalties were sorely tested when the Tuscan troops were defeated and he was offered another chance by Valori, advisor to the Pope in Rome. There was poison in the offer- but Pietro was a soldier of fortune and thought he could play both sides. His belief was shattered- his role of would-be betrayer ate into his conscience- and when he had the chance to redeem himself he took it, and served gallantly in the rescue of his strategically placed castle of Aquila del Monte -- and of Florence itself. Costume drama of perhaps better than average quality, zestfully told.