The Malice of Fortune

  • by Michael Ennis
  • Narrated by Adrian Paul, Carlotta Montanari, John Lee, Fred Sanders
  • 14 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince....
When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Valentino’s eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, who together must struggle to decipher the killer’s taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking "science of observation" and Machiavelli with his new "science of men". Traveling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil - and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilization.

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What the Critics Say

"Epic.... This is a dense narrative, permeated by the sights, sounds and smells of Renaissance Italy, and one that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose, with which it is sure to be compared." (Kirkus )
"Absorbing and intelligent.... Fans of superior historical mystery writers such as Steven Saylor and Laura Jo Rowland will be enthralled." (Publishers Weekly)
"With its vivid, well-defined array of characters, The Malice of Fortune captures the glorious and gritty details of Renaissance Italy in a propulsive story. Ennis has achieved a great accomplishment, historical fiction that places us right into the characters' present." (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Technologists)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Female narrator is impossible to listen to.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I have no idea. I could not get past the narration after the first hour, so I can't really comment on the story. If I could have left the Story and Overall categories unstarred, I would have.


What was most disappointing about Michael Ennis’s story?

Not able to comment.


Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

I would have cast someone whose accent was less intrusive and who did not speak in a monotone.


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Honestly, I couldn't tell.


Any additional comments?

I hate to be such a cranky pants, but it's very frustrating to have to miss an entire book because one of the narrators is so grating.

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- Molly Gordon

The Narration Lost Me

I really like the premise of the story and so wanted to listen to this book. However, I quit after five chapters. Carlotta Montanari's Italian accent was so distracting that I simply could not follow the book. Accent's are great for character dialogue, but not narration. Why the Publisher/Ennis chose this method of narration is beyond me. Be sure and listen to the sample before you purchase. I should have. I wish I could get my money/credit back on this one.
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- Jonathan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-11-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio