This is more definitely in the Costain- rather than the Shellabarger- vein, and will appeal to people who like tremendous detail and a rather slow pace of story. And in retrospect, The Sword of Il Grande has potentials of dramatic action which only come off here and there. Briefly, it tells of Gano Grande, mercenary and head of the band hired by the thrice chosen Gonfalonier of the democratic people of Vicenda, in 15th century Italy. The story opens with the return of the adopted son, hair presumptive, Uriel, who brings into a town accustomed to peace a warlike note, a jarring sense of aggressive showmanship unpleasantly tainted with gold. And from this moment, there is war between Il Grande and Uriel, for Uriel attempts to unseat the beloved Cosima di Modena, establish a dictatorship. But the Gonfalonier and the governing body turn a deaf ear, the mercenaries are disarmed, Cosima is held prisoner in his own palace, until Il Grande- and his beloved Lisa work against terrific odds to restore Vicenda to its people. Cloak and sword romance de luxe.