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Internet analyst soldiers on

Tim Albright has left the devastated high-tech world for war-torn, plague-infested medieval Italy.

The erstwhile Internet research analyst has been working since last fall on a historical biography of Sir John Hawkwood, the richest mercenary of 14th-century Italy. Albright, 37, has written 400 pages of the manuscript, titled Condottierre -- Italian for "mercenary leader" -- and expects to finish his work in a month. Why the fascination with Hawkwood? "He seemed to be a character resonant across all times," Albright says of the English miner's son who sold his military services to the highest bidder: Milan against the papacy, the papacy against Florence, and Florence against Milan, to name a few. That's a far cry from cyberspace, which Albright covered for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Salomon Smith Barney from 1998 until 2001. He then spent about a year at New York hedge fund ADS Capital before leaving to spend time with his family and work on the book. But Albright sees plenty of connections across the centuries: "My former profession is the most mercenary profession there is."