This is the second novel on the infamous Borgia family, and it’s just as riveting as the first one, Blood and Beauty. This novel focuses on the blood-bath that Cesare Borgia unleashed in his attempt to carve a Borgia state out of Italy while his father, Pope Alexander VI financed his ambitions. Everything Pope Alexander VI did was in order to create a dynasty that would outlast his own death.
The novel also focuses on the Pope’s daughter Lucrezia’s third marriage to the Duke of Ferrara, another political move by the Pope to continue his legacy. In this novel, we are introduced to that political observer, Machiavelli. I love historical fiction, and this novel is historical fiction at its best.
Dunant also questions the historical implications that various diseases, mostly syphilis, may have had on history. This is actually an intriguing question, and one that probably doesn’t have an answer. However, she makes a valid point since this is one disease that knew no economic barriers. While I don’t want to give anything else away, I’ll end here. I highly recommend this novel. Well done, Dunant!