Michael Römling was born in Soest in 1973. He studied history in Göttingen, Besançon and Rome. After completing his PhD, he founded a publishing company, and wrote many history books and historical novels for young readers. Since completing his dissertation and living in Rome for eight years, he feels closely connected to the Renaissance period.
Milan, 1493. When silk merchant Bernardino Bellapianta finds the young Pandolfo lying on a rubbish heap with a broken skull, he takes the injured man in and nurses him back to health in his fairytale palace. Pandolfo, who has lost his memory, begins a search for his own past. He survives a second murderous attack, ascends high into the skies with a builder of flying machines, falls in love with a woman for the second time and slowly realises that his benefactor is not as innocent as he appears.
Like Pandolfo, Bernardino is a man without a past. A foundling, his business acumen and ambition led him to the Orient and to fabulous wealth. The old Milanese families grow resentful; malicious rumours circulate about Bernardino’s suspiciously good relationship with the Turkish sultan. Is that why Pandolfo one day stumbles over the body of a murdered Turk? The corpse is lying in the hold of a ship – and at the same time in Bernardino’s palace. Puzzled?
Much of what goes on in this rich, tense and meticulously researched historical novel is puzzling. Over the course of its spellbinding narrative, Pandolfo is forced to discard many illusions on his way to finding his old self and the love of his life.