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.
©2016 C.W. Gortner (P)2016 Random House Audio
"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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Brilliantly crafted, masterfully researched and artfully performed. The Vatican princess is one of the top five historical fictions I have listen to.
"Not What I Expected"
I just finished Rival Queens before this and absolutely loved it. I had hoped that this book would be similar, a history of the time period based on strong, factual evidence. My expectations were too high. The Vatican Princess was a historical fiction written in first person, only loosely based on history. In retrospect, I really should have realized this based on the title and the description. But I didn't, and I was very disappointed. This was a story of a silly, naive little girl in a corrupt family that just happened to be based on real people. I recommend you temper your expectations as I did not.
This is a very intriguing story, very well written and dramatically read. So much more drama than if you just read the book. I liked everything about it and hated it have to end. I especially liked the explanations of what happened to the characters after the story ended.
The plot picked up very quickly, and once it did, I had difficulty pausing it to go about my daily life. Performance was excellent! Will definitely listen again.
After spending several months in Italy over the winter, I became enthralled with the Borgia family. I binge watched The Borgias on Netflix and found this book the perfect "second" chapter. It held my complete attention from the first pages. The audio performance was excellent. Pronunciation of Italian was excellent. I recommend this book but suggest some background work on the Borgia family first. It will make this interpretation easier to understand and more meaningful.
Exciting, suspenseful, and heartbreaking. It is hard to imagine really how strong women had to be back then. Great story.
"Absolutely LOVED it!"
I've read a lot of books on the Borgias, mostly fiction but nonfiction as well; this book moved me like none of the others. I didn't think it was possible to shock me any further with their stories but Gortner did, and he did it very skillfully. This is my third Gortner, and I'll definitely be reading the rest of his historicals.
I laughed at parts, even snorted, surprised that I issued that sound and could hear it over the story. I gasped and I even cried, and I missed it when I wasn't listening it to it.
The narrator did a fantastic job, and she is also to be commended. I will look for her again.
This is one of the best audible books I have ever enjoyed, and I heartily recommend to you.
"Worth Listening To"
It took me a couple of chapters to get into the novel, but once I did I could not stop listening. The only complaint I have is the speaker's male voicing- I found it a bit annoying.
In a medieval 'game of thrones ' there are intrigues and twists. The characters jump to life as the story unfolds. Villians and victims portrayed with care
"Not Historical Fiction"
This is more of a torrid bodice ripping bad romance novel. No serious history revealed!
"Not overly impressed"
The book itself was a well referenced history however I did find the American narration and pronunciation very cartoonish.
"Better to read the book"
Yes by this author
No - poor choice. Little knowledge of the book's context and pronunciation was hit and miss on words in both English and Italian. Should have had an appropriate ethnic voice.
I prefer to read the book not the adaptation one gets with a film.
The story was spoiled by the poor narration.
"An emotional whirlwind of a story"
Listening to Lucrezia's story made me feel so lucky to live in today's world. Whatever we think of today's politicians we are worlds apart from the savagery of the past. This story is written beautifully, the descriptions of surroundings, people and the emotions they felt made me feel as though I was there witnessing it. I couldn't wait to listen every day and I regret I have finished it too fast. I definitely recommend it to anyone wanting an exciting, often shocking read.
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