Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Monthly Newsletter

Join Now

Leonardo’s Swans

Leonardo’s Swans

Author(s): Karen Essex

Location(s): Ferrara, Italy, Milan

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 15th Century



At the heart of this book is the complex relationship between two of Leonardo’s muses and patrons at the court of Milan: The d’Este sisters, Isabella and Beatrice, who are betrothed to two very different men. Isabella marries the Marquis of Mantua, her childhood sweetheart, and Beatrice marries Ludovico Sforza – twice her age, and living openly with his mistress. The two marriages set the two sisters on a course for supremacy. But when Ludovico’s grand plan to control Europe begins to crumble, immortality through art becomes a luxury, and the two sisters must make choices between loyalty to their family and survival in the treacherous political world. It is during this time that Leonardo paints the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. A beautifully crafted book that brings the glittering world of the Sforzas – decadence, love, sex, glamour at the Court of Milan and Renaissance mores to life.

Review this Book

To review this book, please

Log in

Book Reviews

Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021