Lent is a fantasy novel about Savonarola. It takes place in Florence and Hell between 1492 and 1498. I wrote it in 42 writing days, four of those in January of 2016, then 17 days in Italy in May/June 2017 (in which I wrote 40,000 words) and the rest after I got home in September 2017.
It’s 116,000 words long, which makes it a little longer than most of my novels. It was inspired by a letter of Marsilio Ficino, quoted in Donald Weinstein’s Savonarola: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Prophet.
It will be published by Tor on 28th May 2019.
From Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning Jo Walton comes Lent, a magical re-imagining of the man who remade fifteenth-century Florence—in all its astonishing strangeness
Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.
It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It’s a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It’s a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It’s a miracle that, despite the Pope’s determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he’s still on the loose…and, now, running Florence in all but name.
That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who—or what—he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.