It is about an artist who created an altarpiece in 1311. The artist—Duccio—was regarded as Siena’s very best painter at that time. Siena was at the apex of its power and artistic achievement. In the book, Duccio gets into trouble, though. Two powerful men want to sabotage his work and his reputation, and they use the fact that he has a secret female apprentice as their way to destroy Duccio.