The ferocious rise of the Borgia family in Rome has taken the country by surprise, as Pope Alexander VI—Rodrigo Borgia—openly wields his illegitimate children as dynastic weapons: his son Cesare, the arrogant, sadistic leader of a victorious mercenary army, and his scandal-soaked daughter, Lucrezia, a pawn in the marriage game.
In Florence, a city once celebrated for her artistic wealth and learning, the people lament what has been lost after the mad monk Savonarola’s pious reign. Politics is a blood sport; violence an acceptable form of diplomacy. But Niccolò Machiavelli, a clever and calculating undersecretary, thrives in such conditions, eager to quietly manipulate the affairs of state to his own ends. Machiavelli is impressed with the influence and boldness of the Borgias—and one man in particular catches his eye.
With his moods growing more unstable and his impatience often turning into fury, Cesare will defy his own father and hatch a secret plot to consolidate his power and feed his ambition. Lucrezia, whose previous husband was murdered by her possessive brother, is set to marry once more to further the Borgias advantage. But her future sister-in-law will become a formidable adversary.
While alliances are forged, tensions between regions intensify, and deceptions are set like traps for the unwary, Sarah Dunant’s thrilling novel reveals the passions and betrayal, unrest and intrigue, conspiracy and murder that leads to the epic fall of the House of Borgia. Download and start listening now!