Let Me Be Lighter
By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s 1980 Ariosto is a standalone mundane alternate history novel (but one which contains within itself a fantasy alternate history novel).
Italy’s warring states have set aside their mutual enmity in the name of common defence. The Italia Federata protects all of its member states from foreign aggression, whereas formerly each principality and republic could rely only on its own strength and that of an ever-shifting network of allies.
Ludovico Ariosto is but a poet, not the Il Primàrio who expected to keep all of the Federata’s saucers in the air. Il Primàrio Damiano de’ Medici is, however, Ariosto’s patron. Italy’s problems are Damiano’s and by the transitive property, Italy’s problems are Ariosto’s.
Small wonder the poet finds escape in fantasy.