Blood & Beauty

  • by Sarah Dunant
  • Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
  • 17 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Italian Renaissance novels—The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan, and Sacred Hearts—has an exceptional talent for breathing life into history. Now Sarah Dunant turns her discerning eye to one of the world’s most intriguing and infamous families—the Borgias—in an engrossing work of literary fiction.
By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched by its brutality and corruption, nowhere more than in Rome and inside the Church. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined not just by his wealth or his passionate love for his illegitimate children, but by his blood: He is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for life, women, and power must use papacy and family—in particular, his eldest son, Cesare, and his daughter Lucrezia—in order to succeed.
Cesare, with a dazzlingly cold intelligence and an even colder soul, is his greatest—though increasingly unstable—weapon. Later immortalized in Machiavelli’s The Prince, he provides the energy and the muscle. Lucrezia, beloved by both men, is the prime dynastic tool. Twelve years old when the novel opens, hers is a journey through three marriages, and from childish innocence to painful experience, from pawn to political player.
Stripping away the myths around the Borgias, Blood & Beauty is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Borgias Brought to Life

I found this historical novel about the Borgias fascinating. With all that has been written about them through the years, I feel that Ms. Dunant has done a wonderful job of making them come alive as real people. You feel the pain Lucretia feels as a young innocent who is manipulated by her father and brother. The arrogance and lust for power of Cesare and the corrupt and exploitive nature of the Pope in almost every aspect of his life except his love for his children . It was not a fast moving book but the fabulous narration of Mr. Ballerini kept me listening and wondering what would happen next! If you like Historical fiction I think you will find this book well written and researched
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- Taryn "Addicted to Audible!"


What made the experience of listening to Blood & Beauty the most enjoyable?

The writing is exquisite - mellifluous and poetic. Her psychological take on the situations and characters are interesting and plausible.

What did you like best about this story?

The character development, the plot and Dunant's skill in keeping me fully engrossed.

What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

His performance was impeccable and added tremendously to the richness of the story and my immersion into the characters.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book so much that I am unable to read another historical fiction novel (my favorite genre) at this time. Blood and Beauty is so well crafted that it will be a tough act to follow.

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-16-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio