The cover of the book, edited by two women, shows three men (from Mantua) in an enlarged self-portrait by the Dutch painter Peter Paul Rubens. The main thesis of the book, which collects ten essays of a conference organized in October 2011 by Research Fellow Sarah Rolfe Prodan at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria University in the University of Toronto, is that friendship should be seen as a ternary, rather than binary, relation in the sense that it always seems to unite two (or more) parties in relation to some third element only be it a shared hobby, some binding predilection, or a common belief or interest. Accordingly, the essays of the volume are grouped into three sections, which, in expanding form, attempt to follow the nature of this relation: first as being mainly (inter-)personal (I. Individual Friendships), then as being more or less group-related (II. Networks of Friends), and, finally, in a more general sense as being on a large scale international or even global (III. Friendship in Political and International Relations).