The Vatican Princess

The Vatican Princess

A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia

Book - 2016
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For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, bestselling author C. W. Gortner effortlessly weaves history and drama in this captivating novel about one of the world's most notorious families. Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy, and Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty's ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, a new era has dawned in Rome. Benefitting from their father's elevation are the new pope's illegitimate children--his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia--each of whom assumes an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family's fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment's notice as Italy's ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia's father faces challenges from all sides, the threat of a French invasion forces him to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia's coming-of-age in her own voice. What results is a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

Praise for The Vatican Princess

"In a literary exploration riven with Shakespearean quantities of murder, lies, deceptions, and treachery, Gortner's narrative gains veracity with his atmospheric exploration of fashion, architecture, and art on the stage of 'loud, filthy, and dangerous' Rome. Gortner has imagined Lucrezia Borgia's life from a feminist perspective." -- Kirkus Reviews

"[Gortner] has invested his novel with impressive historical detail that is woven neatly into the threads of the story, and his afterword and references offer excellent insight." -- Historical Novels Review

"Assiduously researched and expertly crafted, this novel takes readers inside the treacherous world of the Borgias--one of history's most dysfunctional ruling families--and brings to life the sympathetic and freshly imagined character of their leading lady, Lucrezia. This unholy plunge into Rome's darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing." --Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Sisi : Empress on Her Own

"The world of Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life--I'm captivated by this knowledgeable author's take on the controversial Borgias." --Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen

"Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization of these turbulent times make for a fascinating read." --Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2016
ISBN: 9780345533975
Branch Call Number: FIC Gort
Characteristics: 382 pages : map ; 25 cm


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Sep 23, 2018

The reason I picked up this book is that I was planning to visit the Palace and gardens of D’Este in Tivoli near Rome. He was in fact her third husband , her first marriage having been annulled and her second husband Alfonso of Naples assassinated. This book gave me some insight on the Borgias and the corruption of her Father Rodrigo Borgia who became Pope and her brothers Juan and Cesare. In the afterword,the author explains clearly that a lot of historical and factual information is not available on this family. Nonetheless, I did learn a great deal about this period of Rome and Italy and that what Lucrezia was accused of (manipulative, incestuous) has been greatly exaggerated.

Feb 01, 2017

The TV series about the Borgias calls them the "original crime family" with cause. The story could almost tell itself, and in this case, almost does...

Jun 17, 2016

Excellent historical novel about the Borgia family in the late 15th century. I was intrigued by all the power the Pope had at that time and how family was used as political advantage. I couldn't put the book down.

Cmlibrary_MDodds Mar 17, 2016

This is a very well written book. It's a great read if you don't know anything about the Borgias and Pope Alexander VI; it's fiction, but very true to facts.


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