Set during the Renaissance Era, David shows how intense and divided Italy was during that time. There were two rival political factions, the compagnacci and the frateschi (also known as the Republicans and the Medici men), who were both very passionate about their beliefs, which led to explosive conflicts. Also, art was of utmost importance and was the cause of much jealousy and argument. Mary Hoffman explores this intense time and place through a young man, Gabriele, who moves to Florence to live with his brother and ends up getting caught in countless conflicts and frequent confusion. This is an intriguing way to write the novel because the narrator is just as new to the city as the readers. As years pass and Gabriele grows, readers begin to see that facing reality takes maturity and self-acceptance. An important facet in Gabriele's journey is the statue that his brother, Michelangelo, is creating. Gabriele posed for this statue, called David. The statue is seen as a Republican symbol, which angers the Medici men and makes Gabriele a target of violence and spite. In this interesting and eye-opening novel, Mary Hoffman portrays Renaissance Italy believably by showing the passionate political conflicts and the importance of art.