By 30 years old in 1527, Giovanni Salzano had fought his way across Europe for the better part of 13 years and 7 different wars.
But it wasn't always that way. Before 1514, Giovanni enjoyed a quiet life with his uncle Bonaventure, nephew Deangelo, and best friend Romano in the Italian countryside. With his uncle watching over them, Deangelo, Romano, & Giovanni formed friendships that would seem to last forever.
When Bonaventure and his late brother Corradeo's past catches up with the now retired mercenary in 1514, the 17 year old Giovanni Salzano learns what "family business" means.
The Netherlands is a hot bed of war and intrigue, as the former regent of the Habsburg Netherlands---Margaret of Austria---was recently dethroned by her own nephew, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, before the coming of age at just 14. As she plots her revenge against the traitorous Frenchman William de Croy, who plotted her downfall in secret, the young Duke of Burgundy (Charles V) gathers his power base. Before the duke can enjoy his newfound authority, the long running Guelders Wars (1502-1543) in the Netherlands takes a turn for the worse with the secret capture of Margaret's man of secrets, Jean de Marnix, by the French. If turned over to the French, Jean's capture could put a French King on the throne as Holy Roman Emperor and not Charles V. Even worse, the future of the Spanish-Germanic Habsburg dynasty could be at stake. Margaret is the only person standing between France's ambitions, her young nephew's safety, and the future of the Habsburgs.
Giovanni Salzano survived the 1514 Rebellion of Hvar, only for his only surviving mentor---and anyone he could remotely call family---Marcus Felix Brutus is killed in the fighting. Either sensing his pending doom or by destiny, Marcus gives Giovanni a mysterious black circular coin laced with gold and silver, instructing the young Italian he will find vengeance for his family's murder in the Netherlands. The war veteran commands Giovanni to seek out a French mercenary captain by the name of Lafontaine Vayssière, if anything would ever happen to him. Before the end of 1514, what remained of the Swords of Rome had disbanded after Marcus' death, leaving the young Salzano alone again in the world.
Lafontaine commands the loyalty of the Northern Company in the Netherlands. A seasoned war veteran & profiteer of death, Lafontaine will defend the business & institution of the mercenary to his dying breath. That is until he is forced to choose between business and honor...