On May 2, 1519, at the Clos Luce in Amboise, Leonardo da Vinci is dying. He no longer cares about art or science. He wants only to answer a simple question about his life: why did he abandon his colossal equestrian statue in Milan? Meanwhile, R --, a twentieth-century historian writing a novel about Leonardo, meditates upon the same question in the midst of an apocalyptic traffic jam, as military helicopters fill the air with tear gas, AIDS demonstrators run amok, and a hospital evacuates its patients onto a nearby sidewalk.
Berry's stupendous novel is a fitting response to the close of a century obsessed with the "end of history". This book is a masterpiece of a kind rarely dared in the contemporary novel.