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1365, Venice. For generations, the merchants of House Aretoli have profited through faithful service to the Republic of Venice. Despite being only a minor senatorial family, they’ve established a reputation for reliability, fidelity, and ingenuity.
But the Aretoli are about to face the ultimate test. Caught up in a rebellion on Venice’s territory of Crete, young Niccolo Aretoli returns as a hero after saving the governor’s life and evacuating the loyal citizenry. Yet despite his new fame, not all is well in Venice. Niccolo’s beloved has been forced into marriage to safeguard her family from ruin. Fresh jealousies divide him from his brother Flavio. And traitorous senators and a seductive foreign agent threaten to divide and destroy his family as part of an even darker design.
From brothel to Senate, on land and sea, through marriage and loss, the sons and daughters of House Aretoli struggle against spies, treachery, and assassination. The seeds of discord are already growing, and they threaten to turn sibling against sibling. Chased on land and sea by enemies and betrayed by his closest allies, Niccolo must overcome a conspiracy that threatens his survival, the lives of his family, and the very existence of the republic itself.