The bestselling author of Blood and Beauty returns with another captivating novel about Renaissance Italy and one of history's most notorious families. Before the Corleones, before the Lannisters, there was the Borgias. The ferocious rise of the Borgia family in Rome has taken the country by surprise, as Pope Alexander VI Rodrigo Borgia openly wields his illegitimate children as dynastic weapons: His son Cesare, the arrogant, sadistic leader of a victorious mercenary army, and his scandal-soaked daughter, Lucrezia, a pawn in the marriage game. In Florence, a city once celebrated for her artistic wealth and learning, the people lament what has been lost after the mad monk Savonarola's pious reign. Politics is a blood sport; violence an acceptable form of diplomacy. But Niccolo Machiavelli, a clever and calculating undersecretary, thrives in such conditions, eager to quietly manipulate the affairs of state to his own ends. Machiavelli is impressed with the influence and boldness of the Borgias and one man in particular catches his eye. With his moods growing more unstable and his impatience often turning into fury, Cesare will defy his own father and hatch a secret plot to consolidate his power and feed his ambition. Lucrezia, whose previous husband was murdered by her possessive brother, is set to marry once more to further the Borgias advantage. But her future sister-in-law will become a formidable adversary. While alliances are forged, tensions between regions intensify, and deceptions are set like traps for the unwary, Sarah Dunant's thrilling novel reveals the passions and betrayal, unrest and intrigue, conspiracy and murder that leads to the epic fall of the House of Borgia. Praise for Sarah Dunant's first novel about the Borgias, Blood and Beauty Like Hilary Mantel with her Cromwell trilogy, Sarah] Dunant has scaled new heights by refashioning mythic figures according to contemporary literary taste. This intellectually satisfying historical saga, which offers blood and beauty certainly, but brains too, is surely the best thing she has done to date. The Miami Herald Hedonism, lust, political intrigue . . . With so much drama, readers won t want the era of Borgia rule to end. People Dunant transforms the blackhearted Borgias and the conniving courtiers and cardinals of Renaissance Europe into fully rounded characters, brimming with life and lust. The New York Times Book Review Dazzling . . . a triumph on an epic scale . . . filled with rich detail and page-turning drama. BookPage Compelling female players have been a characteristic of Dunant's earlier novels, and this new offering is no exception. . . . The members of this close-knit family emerge as dynamic characters, flawed but sympathetic, filled with fear and longing. The Seattle Times
About the Author
Sarah Dunant is the author of the international bestsellers The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan, Sacred Hearts, and Blood and Beauty, which have received major acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Her earlier novels include three Hannah Wolfe crime thrillers, as well as Snowstorms in a Hot Climate, Transgressions, and Mapping the Edge, all three of which are available in paperback from Random House. She has two daughters and lives in London and Florence.