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Download Leonardo's Swans Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Leonardos Swans Audiobook, by Karen Essex Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,172 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Karen Essex Narrator: Elizabeth Sastre Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9780739324318
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LEONARDO'S SWANS is the story of the powerful Este sisters, Beatrice, Duchess of Milan, and Isabella, Marchesa of Mantua, as they compete for the affections of Italy's most influential prince, the Duke of Milan, and for the larger prize, to be immortalized in oil by his court painter and engineer, Leonardo da Vinci. Sexy, inspiring, and intelligent, her story of love, intrigue, and art is truly unforgettable.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Privileged sisters compete over men, attention—and the chance to be immortalized on canvas by Leonardo da Vinci in this instantly absorbing tale. Redbook magazine
  • Two very different sisters, two very different husbands, and one of the greatest geniuses of all times, Leonardo da Vinci. In this sizzling historical novel set in fifteenth-century Italy, Essex combines art, political intrigue, family feuds and sex to create a page-turner that also probes the experience of being painted and whether it can offer immortality. USA Today
  • Acclaimed author Karen Essex spins a wild yarn about sexual politics and the struggle for immortality. Harper’s Bazaar (“Hot Reads” pick)
  • Meticulously researched. Exquisite detail . . . Chicago Tribune

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Belinda | 2/3/2014

    " Interesting historical fiction about two 15th-century Italian sisters Isabella and Beatrice d'Este sisters. Gives you a feeling for the life and the times of Leonard da Vinci. I enjoyed looking for the actual works of art that da Vinci painted of these two women. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mel | 1/29/2014

    " Interesting read. Historical "fiction", i.e. story during Renaissance Italy of the Leonardo and Ludovico era as seen by the d'Este sisters (powerful and influential women of the time). Some parts of the story/plot were lacking and I felt some questions were unanswered or not explained well enough, but all in all, a very decent read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kat | 1/27/2014

    " An engaging read, if you're into historical fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fae | 1/20/2014

    " While this book doesn't have as much to do with Da Vinci as I hoped it did, it was interesting to read a historical novel that put into perspective the subjects for a number of Leonardo's pieces. A very interesting book full of political intrigue and historical plots, tied into the life of a prominent figure in art. My only gripe is that it definitely dragged on in parts, particularly towards the end. Although that may have been because it was 3 am and I really wanted to sleep, but wouldn't let myself sleep, until I had finished the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz Meissner | 1/13/2014

    " I had trouble getting into this one..I kept trying and read more then half of it "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ali | 1/10/2014

    " Enjoyable and extremely well researched with a helpful general character history at the end. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erica | 10/22/2013

    " A very "okay" historical novel. (You'd think a Tulane graduate would do better.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzanne Krueger | 10/21/2013

    " The story loosely told around the life of Leonardo da Vinci. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tyra | 9/9/2013

    " An interesting and very sad/disturbing story about two sisters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela Bruce | 1/5/2013

    " it has been a few years. i cant remember much but i loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Aurandt | 10/23/2012

    " Always enjoy these types of artist stories. Good story with art and intrigue. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diana | 3/11/2012

    " Pretty badly written and some of the 21st century writing tedious. Good on Isabella though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zandrea | 1/22/2012

    " Did not like this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate Sometomato | 1/4/2012

    " I thought this book dragged a bit and I was disappointed that there was not more about Leonardo Da Vinci in the story line. A lot of the characters were not very likeable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicky | 12/31/2011

    " Read it years ago, Karen Essex is very good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia | 11/22/2011

    " Interesting story about the 1400-1500's and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. One author's take on Leonardo's genius and how sister's could be so different, yet the same. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynne | 5/28/2011

    " This began as a silly historical romance and didn't get much better. I was bored and ready to move on to a better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sammcnair | 5/15/2011

    " interesting as a portrait of Leonardo's times, but story is somewhat depressing and drags "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Briawna | 4/27/2011

    " Interesting book. I always love read reading about renaissance Italy and leonardo's life. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 3/6/2011

    " Okay historical novel with Da Vinci and real life sisters who marry dukes of Italy. Isabella d'Este (sister in law to Lucrezia Borgia) and Beatrice. Sexual and political intrigue. Lively at first, then I had trouble finishing it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Missy/Melissa | 10/13/2010

    " Loved reading the story behind the famous paintings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 8/25/2010

    " Entertaining fictionalized history, love that Leo, he made the book for me, I would have liked to get a little more of him here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 7/28/2010

    " This historical fiction book really surprised me. I liked the little notes that Leonardo actually wrote...and the whole idea to form a story with sisters and their jealousy was pretty cool. Very informative, and you learn a lot about Leonardo's life and the art in the Louvre. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 LD | 4/16/2010

    " This book was so rich and textural. So well researched. Very inspirational, providing me with a wonderful context for a visit to Italy. A must-read. "

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About the Author
Author Karen Essex

Karen Essex is the author of several novels, including Dracula in Love, Stealing Athena, Leonardo’s Swans, Kleopatra, and Pharaoh. Also an award-winning journalist and a screenwriter, she wrote Bettie Page: Life of a Pinup Legend, the only authorized biography of the late pin-up icon. She divides her time between London and Los Angeles

About the Narrator

Elizabeth Sastre has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston, Brick Lane by Monica Ali, and The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde, which was an AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year in 2004.