Synopses & Reviews
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 & Beauty is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless.
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF SARAH DUNANT
The Birth of Venus
“A broad mural bursting with color, passion, and intrigue.”—People
“A witty, ingenious historical novel.”—The New York Times Book Review
In the Company of the Courtesan
“Delicious . . . [a] compelling story of love, betrayal, loyalty, debauchery, jealousy and redemption.”—USA Today
“Remarkable . . . [Dunant’s] memorable characters captivate. . . . This tale grows in depth and suspense. . . . The reader will encounter unexpected and unforgettable wonders.”—Baltimore Sun
“Compelling . . . a gripping tale of love, lust [and] jealousy.”—The Times (London)
“Captivating . . . Dunant’s brilliant imagination is at its powerful best.”—The Washington Post
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.