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The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia
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Random House Publishing Group 2016
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For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, bestselling author C. W. Gortner effortlessly weaves history and drama in this captivating novel about one of the world’s most notorious families. Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy, and Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, a new era has dawned in Rome. Benefitting from their father’s elevation are the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—each of whom assumes an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, the threat of a French invasion forces him to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice. What results is a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

Praise for The Vatican Princess

“In a literary exploration riven with Shakespearean quantities of murder, lies, deceptions, and treachery, Gortner’s narrative gains veracity with his atmospheric exploration of fashion, architecture, and art on the stage of ‘loud, filthy, and dangerous’ Rome. Gortner has imagined Lucrezia Borgia’s life from a feminist perspective.”Kirkus Reviews

“[Gortner] has invested his novel with impressive historical detail that is woven neatly into the threads of the story, and his afterword and references offer excellent insight.”Historical Novels Review

“Assiduously researched and expertly crafted, this novel takes readers inside the treacherous world of the Borgias—one of history’s most dysfunctional ruling families—and brings to life the sympathetic and freshly imagined character of their leading lady, Lucrezia. This unholy plunge into Rome’s darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Sisi: Empress on Her Own

“The world of Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life—I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias.”—Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen

“Impressive research, a lush background, and deft...
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Format:
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Street Date:
02/09/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345533982
ASIN:
B00XSSMKC2
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APA Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. (2016). The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. 2016. The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner, The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia. Random House Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

C. W. Gortner. The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia. Random House Publishing Group, 2016. 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: C. W. Gortner holds an MFA in writing, with an emphasis on historical studies, from the New College of California and has taught university courses on women of power in the Renaissance. He is the internationally acclaimed author of Mademoiselle Chanel, The Queen’s Vow, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, and The Last Queen, among other books. Gortner divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala. To learn more about his work and to schedule a book group chat with him, please visit his website.
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title
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fullDescription
For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, bestselling author C. W. Gortner effortlessly weaves history and drama in this captivating novel about one of the world’s most notorious families. Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy, and Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, a new era has dawned in Rome. Benefitting from their father’s elevation are the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—each of whom assumes an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, the threat of a French invasion forces him to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice. What results is a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

Praise for The Vatican Princess

“In a literary exploration riven with Shakespearean quantities of murder, lies, deceptions, and treachery, Gortner’s narrative gains veracity with his atmospheric exploration of fashion, architecture, and art on the stage of ‘loud, filthy, and dangerous’ Rome. Gortner has imagined Lucrezia Borgia’s life from a feminist perspective.”Kirkus Reviews

“[Gortner] has invested his novel with impressive historical detail that is woven neatly into the threads of the story, and his afterword and references offer excellent insight.”Historical Novels Review

“Assiduously researched and expertly crafted, this novel takes readers inside the treacherous world of the Borgias—one of history’s most dysfunctional ruling families—and brings to life the sympathetic and freshly imagined character of their leading lady, Lucrezia. This unholy plunge into Rome’s darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Sisi: Empress on Her Own

“The world of Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life—I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias.”—Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen

“Impressive research, a lush background, and deft...
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Sisi: Empress on Her Own
      • content: "C. W. Gortner's The Vatican Princess is a tale of passion, political intrigue, and poisonous power. Assiduously researched and expertly crafted, this novel takes readers inside the treacherous world of the Borgias--one of history's most dysfunctional ruling families--and brings to life the sympathetic and freshly imagined character of their leading lady, Lucrezia. This unholy plunge into Rome's darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing."
      • premium: False
      • source: Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I
      • content: "Elegantly written and deeply researched, with a pacy style and a fine eye for contemporary detail . . . The world of Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life--I'm captivated by this knowledgeable author's take on the controversial Borgias."--Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen "A spiderweb of Renaissance intrigue with a cast of legendary characters, The Vatican Princess tells Lucrezia Borgia's story in her own words. Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization of these turbulent times make for a fascinating read."
      • premium: False
      • source: Patricia Bracewell, author of Shadow on the Crown
      • content: "The Vatican Princess immerses us in the vibrant, sometimes terrifying world of Renaissance Rome. Here is a marvelously evocative portrait of a young woman caught in a bewildering web of jealousy, family rivalry, vengeance, and papal politics. This is historical fiction at its best, written by a master of the genre."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 21, 2015
        The latest from historical novelist Gortner (after Mademoiselle Chanel) is a lurid, old-school story that revolves around Lucrezia Borgia, the doted-upon illegitimate daughter of the notoriously corrupt Rodrigo Borgia, who was Pope Alexander VI. As she grows into her teen years, Lucrezia becomes a pawn in her family’s political schemes. After being married off to a near-penniless man who seems more drawn to her vicious eldest brother, Juan, Lucrezia finds herself lusting after both her brother Cesare—a reluctant cardinal with ambitions beyond the church—and her sister-in-law’s brother, Alfonso, with whom she shares an interest in books. Family dastardliness and intrigue soon turn Lucrezia’s life upside down, as she becomes pregnant and tries to have her loveless marriage dissolved after several violent incidents. Gortner’s book features several anachronisms for the late 1400s, such as the protagonist’s sympathy for exiled Jews, but the narrative is also unapologetically pulpy and titillating. Ultimately, Lucrezia is pitted against the men of her powerful family, who expect her loyalty in the face of their ruthlessness. Cesare tries to win his father’s love as he sets about conquering land and crushing Borgia’s enemies, and everyone becomes a bit paranoid. Gortner’s story makes for an engaging tale.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 15, 2015
        As the 16th century dawns, Columbus has brought word of new lands to Queen Isabella, Savonarola leads a reign of terror in Florence, and Rodrigo Borgia is bargaining his daughter, Lucrezia, to claim the Throne of Peter in Rome. In an era when priestly vows of chastity were honored in the breach, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia had four children by a mistress. Borgia, who would become Pope Alexander VI, gains his papacy with the support of the troublesome Milanese, particularly Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, whom he names vice-chancellor. Borgia's 13-year-old daughter, Lucrezia, his farfallina--"little butterfly"--will marry Giovanni Sforza, the cardinal's cousin, in more political payoff. Rodrigo's patronage, political power, and wealth made Lucrezia a valuable consort because family alliances between the Sforzas, Gonzagas, d'Estes, and Medicis controlled Italy's city-states. Gortner's novel is one of character: Borgia pater, of course, but also Lucrezia, intelligent and poised, and her "keen and capable" brother Cesare, named Cardinal of Valencia fresh from seminary. Teenage Lucrezia is mature beyond her years, but she's only a pawn in her father's game of thrones. Soon, however, "political convenience" will lead to the annulment of Lucrezia's unconsummated marriage to Sforza. Later, Lucrezia makes a love match with Alfonso of Aragon, Prince of Naples, but Cesare disapproves of his father's indulgence, to Lucrezia's regret. Lucrezia remains a sympathetic character, conversant in literature and philosophy, with every Borgia evil laid at the feet of her father, ambitious and calculating, or Cesare, a brilliant and amoral psychopath with a lifelong near-incestuous love for his sister. In a literary exploration riven with Shakespearean quantities of murder, lies, deceptions, and treachery, Gortner's narrative gains veracity with her atmospheric exploration of fashion, architecture, and art on the stage of "loud, filthy, and dangerous" Rome. Gortner (Mademoiselle Chanel, 2015, etc.) has imagined Lucrezia Borgia's life from a feminist perspective.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, bestselling author C. W. Gortner effortlessly weaves history and drama in this captivating novel about one of the world’s most notorious families. Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy, and Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, a new era has dawned in Rome. Benefitting from their father’s elevation are the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—each of whom assumes an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her...
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