{5/5} “On Maundy Thursday he washed the feet of all his brothers and all the poor who crowded into the pilgrim hall for bread. He has been out and about through the four quarters of Florence, learning the narrows mazes of the streets, giving comfort to the sick and dying with his own hands, whoever they are. But however much he adopts the outward signs of humility, pride comes creeping back.”

Lent by Jo Walton, published in 2019

Girolamo is First Brother of San Marco in Florence in 1492. He can see demons, and banish them to Hell. Sometimes God speaks to him during his sermons, and he knows that war is coming. Then he’s asked to join a delegation to try to prevent the King of France from sacking Florence.

If I’d read a description of this book and it was by some other author I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. In Walton’s hands, it’s gripping.

I could see that the 2nd half was going to be different and I had no idea what it was going to be — but I was confident that Walton would have something brilliant up her sleeve. There’s a twist at the halfway point* — once you get there you’re guaranteed to continue. The 1st half was interesting — the 2nd half was ingenious.

Like her Thessaly trilogy, the story is very philosophical.

It’s about trying to make the future better, however you can.

I’ve read 8 of Walton’s books. I previously reviewed Necessity.

Spoiler alert

*Girolamo is really a demon — that is, an angel who was banished to Hell for rebelling against God. He’s now trying to do good.

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