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Publisher's Summary

Rome, 1492: The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous - or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web....
Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for Pope - and passionately in love with her.
Two trusted companions will follow her into the Pope's shadowy harem: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the enemies begin to circle, Giulia and her friends will need all their wits to survive in the world of the Borgias.
©2013 Kate Quinn (P)2013 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By lintoinette on 09-06-13

Narrator for Giulia sounds like she needs a nap

Any additional comments?

I think the story content is fascinating, and 2/3 of the narrators are wonderful. However, the narrator for Giulia seriously sounded like Ben Stein running on 2 hours of sleep. I'm gathering she's not a native English speaker, but the prosody was horrible. She'd pause mid sentence and it would be confusing as to the emotional content of the message. I tried listening for 2 days then couldn't do it anymore. Guess I'll read this on my Kindle!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Rachelle on 12-14-13

This was a pleasant surprise!

What made the experience of listening to The Serpent and the Pearl the most enjoyable?

I often struggle with buying audiobooks from first time writers, because I've been burned way too often. Thus, I bought this book with really low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I think the best part of it was the choice to have multiple narrators. I found it exceptionally wonderful to listen to these three narrate this story, and what's more, it really complements the way author wrote each character both as they see themselves, and as others see them. That's a clumsy way to describe it, but when you hear it, it will make perfect sense.

What did you like best about this story?

I don't read historical fiction so that I can learn about history, but I really do enjoy being able to get a sense of a place and time other than my own here and now. This book does a wonderful job of taking you then and there, and shows you what life is like from more than one point of view.

Any additional comments?

Worth a credit, worth a listen, and looking forward to book 2!

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By v.jeffs on 08-13-13


I have just finished listening to this book and loved it. The characters of the dwarf and the female cook have been described so well you feel as though you know them personally.
I cannot wait until the next book comes out........but I will have to.
Even though I knew a lot about the Borgias this shows them from a different angle.......the lives of those in his household and how they see the Pope, his children and most importantly his mistress!
This is a compelling book and will not disappoint!!!!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Able Marle Devon on 02-20-14

Just beautiful!

What did you like most about The Serpent and the Pearl?

This story is just gorgeous - you close your eyes and you are back in 15th century Rome.

What did you like best about this story?

If you liked the recent TV series you will absolutely adore this book. The characters just spring to life.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

It was lovely to have the story told by 3 people - it made the book really interesting and the narrator's sounded exactly as you imagined Guilia, Carmelina and Leonello to be.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A different side to the Borgia story

Any additional comments?

If you love history you will love it, if you don't love history this book will spark your interest and you will probably end up loving history!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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