On May 2, 1519 at the Clos Luc in Amboise, Leonardo 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 20th 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 big masterpiece of a kind rarely dared in the contemporary novel.