This was a perfectly solid one-off fantasy/alternative history set in early renaissance Italy. A little bit of a disappointment coming from Lois McMaster Bujold from whom I somewhat unfairly expect perfection;)
It sets up a decently imaginative world, featuring artisans that create art but also imbue their art with useful magic such as an ornate saltcellar that will purify poisoned food or drink. The semi-historical setting gave the story context but I don't know that it added a whole lot. It features Bujold's characteristic deliciously "gray" characters - none of the good guys are all good and none of the bad guys are all bad which are always fun to meet and explore. However, despite all that, I didn't connect with the main characters at all and the plot sort of trundles along without much spark though it is well constructed. This is, I believe, aimed at a young adult audience and maybe what I found lacking was some of the complexity her other books revel in.
Perfectly good story from an author who normally writes fantastic stories.