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Blood and Beauty: The Borgias

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Blood and Beauty: The Borgias Cover

ISBN13: 9781400069293
ISBN10: 1400069297
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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 and Beauty is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless.

Review:

“The big, bad Borgia dynasty undergoes modern reconsideration in [Sarah Dunant’s] epic new biofiction....Dunant’s biggest and best work to date, this intelligently readable account of formative events and monster players has Hilary Mantel–era quality best-seller stamped all over it.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

“Hugely enjoyable...an old-fashioned rollercoaster of a story....[Sarah Dunant] triumphs, like all good novelists...in a deft, shrewd, precise use of killer detail.” The Guardian (UK)

Review:

“[Dunant] is in her element....She brings 15th-century Italian cities vividly alive....[Blood & Beauty] is an intelligent and passionate book that will no doubt thrill Borgia-lovers.” The Sunday Times (UK)

Review:

“What a marvelous feast of vices and desires Sarah Dunant gives us — lust and ambition, passion and power, destiny born and bought. The Borgias are arguably the most intriguing and ruthless family in all of history, and Dunant brings them ravishingly, bristlingly to life.” Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

Review:

“An astounding achievement, extensively researched and exquisitely written....The Borgias have never been so human, and so humanely portrayed.” Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator’s Wife

Review:

“A fascinating read full of vivid detail and human pathos....Dunant opens a window into the extraordinary machinations and skullduggery of the Borgias and provides us with a richness of description that beautifully locates them in their own time.” Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire

Review:

“An engrossing tale of beauty and corruption, Blood & Beauty is meticulously crafted, and utterly convincing: a work of a skilled historian and a masterful storyteller who makes the Borgias live and breathe.” Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great

Review:

“Brilliant and utterly bone-chilling, Blood & Beauty held me spellbound from beginning to end. This exquisite, seductive portrait is destined to become a classic.” Anne Fortier, author of Juliet

Review:

“A masterpiece of biographical fiction, and likely her best novel yet....With brilliant detail and flawless prose, she opens the doors to the Vatican of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), his vibrant feuding children, and his sultry mistress. It’s a work I’m not likely to ever forget.” Sandra Gulland, author of The Josephine Bonaparte Trilogy

Review:

Blood & Beauty is a wonderful novel, taking you deep into the world of Renaissance passion and the Renaissance papacy. Part of me was happily lost in the time travel, and part of me was repeatedly struck by how vividly ancient Rome met modern Rome, and how the city of history came to life.” Mary Beard, historian and author of The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found

About the Author

Sarah Dunant is the author of the international bestsellers The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan, and Sacred Hearts, which have received major acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Her earlier novels include three Hannah Wolfe crime thrillers, as well as Snowstorms in a Hot Climate, Transgressions, and Mapping the Edge, all three of which are available as Random House Trade Paperbacks. She has two daughters and lives in London and Florence.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Melinda Ott, August 16, 2013 (view all comments by Melinda Ott)
Originally published on my blog at westmetromommy.blogspot.com
4.0 Stars

I am a huge fan of the historical novels by Sarah Dunant and could not wait to get my hands on this one. I was not disappointed.

As indicated in the summary, this book centers around 3 main characters--Pope Alexander (Rodrigo Borgia) and two of his illegitimate children, Cesare and Lucrezia. Alexander was surprisingly likable--yes, he was devious and ambitious, but he also had a sort of childlike joie de vivre. In my minds eye, I could see him just charmed and gleeful in various parts of the book.

Cesare, the Prince of The Prince, is nothing short of a sociopath. If ever a book had a villain, Cesare is that villain for Blood and Beauty. I will say, though, that he isn't your typical villain--he has his moments of where some semblance of humanity shows through, especially when it concerns Lucrezia.

Lucrezia was my favorite character. She was probably the most fictionalized of the three, simply because there are fewer accounts of her historical character. She starts out as a twelve-year-old, a very young twelve-year-old. She is used mercilessly by her family and, somehow, emerges as a strong woman who instead of being resigned to her fate decides to design her own. (Lucrezia apparently had quite a life after the point in history where Blood and Beauty ends).

There were things that I found surprisingly interesting about this book. The first is the acceptance of the pope's illegitimate children. There is a comment in the book early on--and I can't find it now to quote it--where there is a line drawn between celibacy and chastity. This line is nearly invisible in 21st century terms, so I can only assume that line was a bit more defined in 15th-16th century terms.

Another aspect that I found interesting was that, despite all his political ambitions and scheming, Alexander was also quite religious. I guess that shouldn't be too surprising, given that he was the Pope, but it does seem that popes and cardinals in that time period tend to be portrayed as being far more concerned with the matters of men than the matters of God.

All in all, this was an satisfying and enjoyable read for me. I will admit that it is not my favorite of Dunant's historical novels, but that is more a matter of preference. The scope of this book is far wider than those of her other books, which tend to be focused more on one character. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that--I just prefer the more focused plots.

Yet, if anyone asked me for a recommendation for a Renaissance historical novel, this would be on my list.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400069293
Subtitle:
The Borgias
Author:
Dunant, Sarah
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
528

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals

Blood and Beauty: The Borgias Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Random House - English 9781400069293 Reviews:
"Review" by , “The big, bad Borgia dynasty undergoes modern reconsideration in [Sarah Dunant’s] epic new biofiction....Dunant’s biggest and best work to date, this intelligently readable account of formative events and monster players has Hilary Mantel–era quality best-seller stamped all over it.”
"Review" by , “Hugely enjoyable...an old-fashioned rollercoaster of a story....[Sarah Dunant] triumphs, like all good novelists...in a deft, shrewd, precise use of killer detail.”
"Review" by , “[Dunant] is in her element....She brings 15th-century Italian cities vividly alive....[Blood & Beauty] is an intelligent and passionate book that will no doubt thrill Borgia-lovers.”
"Review" by , “What a marvelous feast of vices and desires Sarah Dunant gives us — lust and ambition, passion and power, destiny born and bought. The Borgias are arguably the most intriguing and ruthless family in all of history, and Dunant brings them ravishingly, bristlingly to life.”
"Review" by , “An astounding achievement, extensively researched and exquisitely written....The Borgias have never been so human, and so humanely portrayed.”
"Review" by , “A fascinating read full of vivid detail and human pathos....Dunant opens a window into the extraordinary machinations and skullduggery of the Borgias and provides us with a richness of description that beautifully locates them in their own time.”
"Review" by , “An engrossing tale of beauty and corruption, Blood & Beauty is meticulously crafted, and utterly convincing: a work of a skilled historian and a masterful storyteller who makes the Borgias live and breathe.”
"Review" by , “Brilliant and utterly bone-chilling, Blood & Beauty held me spellbound from beginning to end. This exquisite, seductive portrait is destined to become a classic.”
"Review" by , “A masterpiece of biographical fiction, and likely her best novel yet....With brilliant detail and flawless prose, she opens the doors to the Vatican of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), his vibrant feuding children, and his sultry mistress. It’s a work I’m not likely to ever forget.”
"Review" by , Blood & Beauty is a wonderful novel, taking you deep into the world of Renaissance passion and the Renaissance papacy. Part of me was happily lost in the time travel, and part of me was repeatedly struck by how vividly ancient Rome met modern Rome, and how the city of history came to life.”
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