In 1504 Perugia, an ancient Umbrian city in central Italy, is a place of great art, great violence – and a great many secrets. Isabella Bevilacqua, a young weaver in her family's small workshop, understands this very well.
Her dreams of creating a work of great beauty must, like her burgeoning relationship with the enigmatic Father Michele Gialletti, remain carefully hidden from her family and from Perugia's powerful weavers' guild.
Keeping secrets is essential to survival in this city, where wealthy and jealous noble families clash viciously on the streets, in the piazzas – even within the Cathedral of San Lorenzo.
Now, a declaration of war by Pope Julius II, who is determined to bring Perugia’s arrogant nobles under the Vatican’s control, sets in motion events that could unmask many secrets: revelations that may destroy much more than Isabella’s dreams.
The Virgin and the Griffin weaves together the desires and passions of a young woman striving to make her mark in a Renaissance Italian city fractured by politics and war, yet a place where great beauty and love are still possible.