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Lucrezia Borgia

A Novel

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“A fascinating story, rich in detail. In every case, Faunce portrays [Lucrezia] believably, with wit and sensitivity.”--Library Journal

Hundreds of years after her death, Lucrezia Borgia remains one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of history, accused of incest, of poisoning her rivals, and even of murdering her own father. Born into scandal, she was the daughter of the treacherous Cardinal Roderigo Borgia, who would later be crowned Pope Alexander VI. When her father ascended the papal throne, young Lucrezia’s life changed forever. From then on, Lucrezia would be unable to escape the political ambitions of her father and her brother, the bloodthirsty Cesare Borgia.

In an era when the Vatican was as decadent and violent as any royal court, Lucrezia was its crown princess. Famed for her beauty, she was a valuable pawn in the marriage game, and Alexander VI would use her to create one alliance after another. When her kindly first husband no longer suited the Pope’s needs, Lucrezia’s virginity was restored by papal decree (her new maidenhood was declared “miraculous”), and she was married off again, this time to a man she truly loved, Alfonso, Prince of Naples. But her joy was short-lived. Alfonso loathed her brother and refused to participate in the Pope’s imperial schemes, which threatened to tear apart the Vatican’s political alliances--and Lucrezia’s happy marriage.

In this unforgettable debut, John Faunce perfectly captures the rotten decadence of the Borgias’ papal court and the inner steel of Lucrezia Borgia, one of history’s great survivors.

“Fascinating...a searing portrait of an intelligent woman, cunning enough to shape her own bizarre destiny.”--Booklist

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 27, 2003 – Her contemporaries painted her as an incestuous, conspiring villainess. History has deemed her a hapless political pawn. Now screenwriter and first-time novelist Faunce allows Borgia to speak for herself in this extravagant first-person narrative of Borgia's life in late 15th-century Italy. The child of Pope Alexander VI and a former whore, Borgia is separated from her mother at an early age and raised in the Vatican by her imperious, corrupt father. Her arranged marriage to Count Giovanni Sforza ends abruptly as Giovanni flees Rome for his life (a victim of the pope's ruthless political maneuvers) just as her love for him begins to blossom. With her virginity declared "miraculously" intact, Lucrezia is forced to marry again, this time to one of Italy's richest heirs. As her brother Cesare and the Borgia family name gain political influence, Lucrezia comes to fear her sibling, all the more so after she and her husband, Alphonso, are viciously attacked by assassins in Cesare's employ. Cesare's subsequent actions incite her to even the score. Faunce gives Borgia the voice of a bitchy but self-possessed modern teenager ("What was I thinking? The hell with Cesare. The hell with my impotently sentimental, girly tears, self-pity and dramatization"), which has the stylishly funny appeal of a show on the WB network. It's not as effective, however, for anchoring a historical epic; the political intrigue and scandals tend to run together, narrated in the same relentless pitch of high drama. By the novel's end, when Borgia is in self-imposed exile in a convent, readers may feel like they could use a rest as well.
Lucrezia Borgia
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Mar 04, 2003
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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