Then and Now: A Novel

Then and Now: A Novel

Then and Now: A Novel

Then and Now: A Novel

Excerpt

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

[ii]

BIAGIO BUONACCORSI had had a busy day. He was tired, but being a man of methodical habit before going to bed made a note in his diary. It was brief: "The City sent a man to Imola to the Duke." Perhaps because he thought it of no importance he did not mention the man's name: it was Machiavelli. The Duke was Caesar Borgia.

It had been not only a busy day, but a long one, for Biagio had set forth from his house at dawn. With him on a stout pony went his nephew, Piero Giacomini, whom Machiavelli had consented to take with him. It happened to be Piero's eighteenth birthday, October 6th, 1502, and so was a fitting day for him to go out into the world for the first time. He was a well-set-up youth, tall for his age and of an agreeable aspect. Under his uncle's guidance, for his mother was a widow, he had received a good education; he could write a good hand and turn a comely phrase not only in Italian, but in Latin. On the advice of Machiavelli, who passionately admired the ancient Ro-

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