Lent

Jo Walton

Book - 2019

Young Girolamo's life is a series of miracles. It's a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It's a miracle that he's friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It's a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo "the Magnificent," the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It's a miracle that when Charles VIII of Fr...ance invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It's a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It's a miracle that, despite the Pope's determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he's still on the loose ... and, now, running Florence in all but name. That's only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who--or what--he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.

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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Published
New York : Tor Book 2019.
Edition
First Edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A Tom Doherty Associates Book."
Physical Description
382 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780765379061
0765379066
Main Author
Jo Walton (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Brother Girolamo has the divine gift of prophecy and he can see demons. He wants nothing more than to keep Florence safe and spread the faith, but a convent there is overrun by demons, all of whom are focused on a recently acquired book by Pliny. Girolamo is hindered by politics and by war—Lorenzo de' Medici dies, leaving his son Piero in power; the leadership of the Dominican order objects to Giorlamo's preaching; and there is an impending invasion by the French army. He labors on, believing wholeheartedly in his faith; ultimately, however, he is executed, excommunicated, and discovers the truth. Over the course of lifetimes, he tries every path he can to change the course of history, keeping Florence from damnation and achieving his own salvation. Lent is a dense but rewarding look at the long, long road to redemption. The background characters—including some well-known historical figures—are an interesting and varied bunch, and the trials of Florence are a wonderful backdrop for the story. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this powerful, thoughtful historical fantasy, Walton (Starlings) explores the struggle of meaningful redemption. On the eve of Lorenzo de' Medici's 1492 death, Dominican ascetic Brother Girolamo Savonarola—prophet and seer of Boschian demons—finds a green stone at a Florence nunnery. Only after building political power, negotiating Florence's safety from a French army, establishing his utopian city, and undergoing terrible suffering does Girolamo learn he is not who he thought, and he realizes that the stone is his key to finding hope amid shock and loss. Alongside friends Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino (familiar from Walton's Thessaly trilogy), he begins a struggle to harrow Hell, and changes history and himself. Girolamo's mix of moral rigidity and reflexive kindness makes him a complex yet affecting guide to this intricate set of alternate histories, each rendered gently but with a devastating emotional weight. Fans of Connie Willis and The Good Place will be awed by this nuanced, loving grapple with better selves and better worlds. Agent: Jack Byrne, Sternig & Byrne Literary. (May) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Possessing the supernatural ability to see and cast out demons, Girolamo Savanarola of 15th-century Florence organizes seemingly miraculous peace initiatives and delivers soul-transforming sermons before enthralled crowds, inciting the wrath of the pope.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Possessing the supernatural ability to see and cast out demons, Girolamo Savanarola of fifteenth-century Florence organizes seemingly miraculous peace initiatives and delivers soul-transforming sermons before enthralled crowds, inciting the wrath of the pope.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Young Girolamo's life is a series of miracles. It's a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It's a miracle that he's friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It's a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo "the Magnificent," the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It's a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It's a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It's a miracle that, despite the Pope's determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he's still on the loose...and, now, running Florence in all but name. That's only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who--or what--he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning Jo Walton comes Lent, a magical re-imagining of the man who remade fifteenth-century Florence—in all its astonishing strangeness

Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.

It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It’s a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It’s a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It’s a miracle that, despite the Pope’s determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he’s still on the loose…and, now, running Florence in all but name.

That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not whoor whathe thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.

"Rendered with Walton's usual power and beauty...It's this haunting character complexity that ultimately holds the reader captive to the tale." —N. K. Jemisin, New York Times, on My Real Children