This debut novel combines history and fantasy, encompassing 200 years in Renaissance-era Florence through the life of one unusual man. Born in the early 14th century, Luca Bastardo was left to make his way alone in the world at an early age. Blessed with unearthly beauty, supernatural longevity, psychic abilities and unpredictable healing talents, he is nevertheless beset throughout his long life by the vengeance of the Silvanos, descendants of the brothel owner he killed in order to escape a life of prostitution. Luca is waiting to meet the great love of his life, glimpsed in a vision and destined to both grant him happiness and spell his doom. Meanwhile, he searches for the truth about his long-lost parents and encounters many of Florence's notables-Giotto, Petrarch and da Vinci among them. The novel aspires to be a sweeping epic, but the plot lacks the heft and narrative flow to succeed. The ending, clearly foreshadowed, is meant to be spiritually uplifting, but some readers might find it pointlessly grim. Slatton provides some effective descriptions and interesting scraps of philosophy, which may bear fruit in a sophomore effort.