truth behind one of the most notorious dynasties in history is revealed in a
remarkable new account by the acclaimed author of The Tudors and A World Undone.
Sweeping aside the gossip, slander, and distortion that have shrouded the
Borgias for centuries, G. J. Meyer offers an unprecedented portrait of the
infamous Renaissance family and their storied milieu.
They burst out of obscurity in Spain not only to capture
the great prize of the papacy, but to do so twice. Throughout a tumultuous
half-century—as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly
ambitious political adventurers—they held center stage in the glorious and
blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance, standing at the
epicenter of the power games in which Europe’s kings and Italy’s warlords gambled
for life-and-death stakes.
Five centuries after their fall—a fall even more
sudden than their rise to the heights of power—they remain immutable symbols of
the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo Borgia, who bought the papal
crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare Borgia, who became first a
teenage cardinal and then the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time;
Lucrezia Borgia, who was as shockingly immoral as she was beautiful. These have
long been stock figures in the dark chronicle of European villainy, their name
synonymous with unspeakable evil.
But did these Borgias of legend actually
exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely
examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people
within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on
the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they
helped to shape—a time of wars and political convulsions that reverberate to
the present day—when Western civilization simultaneously wallowed in appalling
brutality and soared to extraordinary heights.
Stunning in scope, rich in
telling detail, G. J. Meyer’s The Borgias
is an indelible work sure to become the new standard on a family and a world
that continue to enthrall.
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