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The Malice of Fortune
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2012
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Description

Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince...
When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Valentino’s eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, who together must struggle to decipher the killer’s taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking “science of observation” and Machiavelli with his new “science of men.” Traveling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil—and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilization. 

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/11/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385536325
ASIN:
B007MGTOCU
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Michael Ennis. (2012). The Malice of Fortune. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Michael Ennis. 2012. The Malice of Fortune. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Michael Ennis, The Malice of Fortune. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Michael Ennis. The Malice of Fortune. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: MICHAEL ENNIS taught art history at the University of Texas, developed museum programs as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, and worked as an independent curator and consultant. He is the author of two historical novels, The Duchess of Milan and Byzantium. He has written for Esquire and Architectural Digest, and is a regular contributor to Texas Monthly. He lives in Dallas with his television producer wife, Ellen, and their daughter, Arielle.
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fullDescription

Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince...
When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Valentino’s eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, who together must struggle to decipher the killer’s taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking “science of observation” and Machiavelli with his new “science of men.” Traveling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil—and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilization. 

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus (starred review)
      • content: "Epic... This is a dense narrative, permeated by the sights, sounds and smells of Renaissance Italy, and one that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose, with which it is sure to be compared."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly (boxed, starred review)
      • content: "Absorbing and intelligent... Fans of superior historical mystery writers such as Steven Saylor and Laura Jo Rowland will be enthralled."
      • premium: False
      • source: Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly
      • content: "A hefty novel about the politics of 16th-century Italy [that] reads like a pulpy mystery... A thrilling whodunit--and a pretty good primer on da Vinci's 'science of observation' as well as Machiavelli's 'science of man.'"
      • premium: False
      • source: Charles Finch, USA Today
      • content: "Ennis is an uncommonly graceful writer and a conscientious researcher... his story zips along, a pleasure."
      • premium: False
      • source: Christian DuChateau, CNN
      • content: "Ennis bring[s] multiple layers of authenticity to his epic novel. It's a heady mix of "The Da Vinci Code," Borgia politics and "The Silence of the Lambs." Think of it as CSI: Italy circa 1502, with Machiavelli as a detective and psychological profiler and da Vinci as history's first forensic pathologist."
      • premium: False
      • source: Laura Pearson, Time Out Chicago
      • content: "An intricate murder mystery and political thriller [with] a heartrending love story... Like the best historical fiction, the novel transports the reader entirely elsewhere."
      • premium: False
      • source: Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post
      • content: "Intricate, rewarding... The Malice of Fortune is reminiscent of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose in that the intrigue is rich and is inextricably entwined in its world. Amid these walls of power the reader no more loses sight of the danger of the game than of the need to solve the puzzle. The novel works not just because it is a finely wrought history but because the characters are of their time while transcending it."
      • premium: False
      • source: David Hendricks, San Antonio Express
      • content:
        "A novel that ranks among the best with the Italian Renaissance setting.... The narrative brims with minor details that convey authenticity and authority over the material.... Ennis brings the characters alive with impassioned dialogue."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sheryl Connelly, New York Daily News
      • content: "Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli join their considerable forces in this teeming historical thriller... They make an exceptional team."
      • premium: False
      • source: Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Technologists
      • content: "With its vivid, well-defined array of characters, The Malice of Fortune captures the glorious and gritty details of Renaissance Italy in a propulsive story. Ennis has achieved a great accomplishment, historical fiction that places us right into the characters' present."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lyndsay Faye, author of Gods of Gotham and Dust and Shadows
      • content: "The Malice of Fortune is more than a thriller--it's a tender love story, a grim exploration of the nature of human evil, and an immersive tour of Renaissance Italy as courageous, perceptive young Niccolo Machiavelli fights for his life against ruthless Borgia factions. A novel written with gusto, panache, and intellectual rigor."
      • premium: False
      • source: Anne Fortier, author of Juliet
      • content: "A true masterpiece... Michael Ennis has poured the knowledge and wisdom of many lifetimes into the exquisite form of a mystery so dark, so labyrinthine. The Malice of Fortune is stunning, terrifying, and utterly mesmerizing. I can honestly say I never fully appreciated the genius of Machiavelli, or the savagery of the Borgias, until now."
      • premium: False
      • source: Katherine Neville, author of The Eight and The Fire
      • content: "Michael Ennis bring the Renaissance alive in this tour-de-force: The Malice of Fortune dishes out a simmering stew, thick with chicanery, bloodshed, dastardly deeds, code-breaking, puzzle-solving, and a cast of characters that includes Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Francesco Guicciardini, Cesare Borgia--and Damiata, the real-life courtesan whose brassiness, brains, and beauty dazzle even her employer and nemesis: the Pope."
      • premium: False
      • source: Glenn Cooper, author of Library of the Dead and Book of Souls
      • content: "For readers who've been waiting all these years for the next The Name of the Rose--here it is. Michael Ennis brings a scholar's mind and a writer's heart to this beautifully crafted work of Renaissance intrigue that has a rare quality of feeling ancient and modern at the same time. A powerful thinking-man's thriller."
      • premium: False
      • source: Douglas Preston, co-author of The Monster of Florence
      • content: "This is a fascinating novel, filled with extraordinary, well-realized historical characters and a plot that is engrossing and wickedly clever. The Malice of Fortune is an excellent, beautifully researched, and well-written novel that
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from July 2, 2012
        Ennis (The Duchess of Milan) brilliantly recreates the complex politics of early 16th-century Italy in this absorbing and intelligent thriller that teams Leonardo da Vinci with Niccolò Machiavelli. The assassination of Juan Borgia, an illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, leads the pope to turn to Juan’s older brother, Cesare, to further his military and territorial ambitions, which are opposed by mercenaries who fear the Borgias’ consolidation of power. Against this turbulent backdrop, the future author of The Prince seeks to apply “the principles that govern the nature of men” to solve a series of brutal murders that have left women mutilated. Da Vinci’s scientific approach to examining the corpses advances the inquiry, even as the killer’s vicious m.o. and planting of cloven footprints suggest that the devil himself is responsible. What could have come across as a contrived partnership is anything but in Ennis’s skilled hands, and he seamlessly integrates the search for the murderer with the power struggles of the day. Fans of superior historical mystery writers such as Steven Saylor and Laura Jo Rowland will be enthralled. 6-city author tour. Agent: Dan Lazar, Writers House.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from September 1, 2012
        In this epic novel, Ennis gives ample evidence that political and religious corruption in early-16th-century Italy makes anything vaguely analogous look like Sunnybrook Farm. At the center of this swirling unscrupulousness are several key historical figures, most notably the ruthless Duke Valentino of Romagna; his equally merciless father, Pope Alexander VI; a brilliant military engineer and draftsman named Leonardo da Vinci; and Niccolo Machiavelli, who bases his political theory of power on the machinations of the aforementioned duke. The first narrator in this labyrinthine tale is Damiata, whose son is kidnapped by his grandfather, the pope, in a raw display of power and privilege. (Perhaps it's not necessary to mention that these are all Borgias, so in Renaissance Italy, raw displays of power are as common as segreto sauce.) Damiata is one of the "cortigiane oneste" or "honest courtesans"--or even more colloquially, a whore with the proverbial heart of gold. If political intrigue is not enough, there have also recently been some serial killings in which the victims were dismembered and decapitated. Enter Leonardo, who plots the found body parts on a map of Imola, the city in which the gruesome murders occurred, and discovers that the points correspond to those consistent with an Archimedean spiral. The narrative switches over to Machiavelli, who reminisces about the events of 1502 in which Italy is in turmoil, owing at least in part to the assassination of Pope Alexander's beloved son, Juan, brother to the duke and lover of Damiata. Enlisting the help of Machiavelli in solving this murder mystery, she and Machiavelli become both lovers and fellow detectives. This is a dense narrative, permeated by the sights, sounds and smells of Renaissance Italy, and one that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose, with which it is sure to be compared.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2012

        When his son Juan is murdered in distant Imola, Pope Alexander asks the courtesan Damiata to discover what happened. In Imola, Damiata is so undercut by the political intrigue originating with the pope's other son, the Duke Valentino, that she turns to a little-known Florentine diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli for help; the observational skills she needs to catch the killer are furnished by one Leonardo da Vinci. The publisher's big fiction title of the month.

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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shortDescription

Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince...
When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and...

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