Sequel to The Stars Dispose (1997), Roessner’s rather arcane, food-oriented fantasy set in early 16th-century Florence. Young chef Tommaso Arista’s family serves the Ruggieros, magicians who in turn serve the ruling Medicis. Tommaso’s mother, Piera, is herself an occultist, while her family, the Befaninis, are the hereditary cooks of the Medicis. This time out, Roessner retells the life of Caterina de’ Medici. Though she’s the family’s only legitimate heir, her title and wealth must pass to her husband when she marries. In danger of becoming a mere pawn in a power struggle between Pope Clement, her uncle and guardian, and his political adversaries, Caterina chooses Tommaso to accompany her to Rome, where she determines to take control of her own destiny. Richly detailed, with an effective medieval backdrop, this heavy and occasionally arcane tale should appeal to fans of the previous volume.