Leonardo's Shadow: My Astonishing Life as Leonardo da Vinci's Servant by Christopher Grey>
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster: NY, 2006.

For 2 years Leonardo da Vinci has been living off credit. That's how long it's been since he contracted to paint The Last Supper, his greatest painting, on the wall of Santa Maria delle Grazie. There is barely anything on the wall. Why? Is he in a battle of wills with his patron, the Duke of Milan? Is something more important than painting on his mind? How long does he think he can continue without painting the wall? To be sure, their relationship is complex, but who does Leonardo think he is?

Giacomo's (Leonardo's servant) life is a mystery. His memory was lost from a fever and desperate chase before Leonardo found him and took him in. He would do anything to help Leonardo succeed. His most passionate wish is to be trained by his master (to share his master's life), but Leonardo treats him as an errand boy and petty thief (except that he is educating him).

Through necessity and frustration Giacomo plans a solution to Leonardo's debts and what he believes is delaying the painting. There are, of course, complications he could not have foreseen.

This is a fantastic historical novel. We get a glimpse of Leonardo, the Renaissance man, and the dealings he would have had with others to maintain his life while he sought perfection and understanding of the surrounding world. Plus, there is the mystery of the boy's past. He has evidence of possibly important relations. He wants answers, and he believes Leonardo has them.

related-Leonardo da Vinci, 15th century, Milan, Italy, servants, artists, painting, identity, alchemy, inventors, inventions
*I think the title would have been better without the 2nd part. If the description hadn't been so good, I might not have read it. The book is much better than you might think from the title.

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