For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, best-selling 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 15th-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.
"Elegantly written and deeply researched, with a pacy style and a fine eye for contemporary detail.... 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 best-selling author of Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen)
"A spiderweb of Renaissance intrigue with a cast of legendary characters, The Vatican Princess tells Lucrezia Borgia's story in her own words. Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization of these turbulent times make for a fascinating read." (Margaret George, New York Times best-selling author of Elizabeth I)
"Here is a marvelously evocative portrait of a young woman caught in a bewildering web of jealousy, family rivalry, vengeance, and papal politics. This is historical fiction at its best, written by a master of the genre." (Patricia Bracewell, author of Shadow on the Crown)
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