Sizzling Renaissance – Sarah Dunant’s Blood and Beauty
May 15, 2013
Sarah Dunant, author of The Birth of Venus and In the Company of the Courtesan, is coming out with another richly historical novel. This time she focuses on the Borgias, the (often literally) intriguing Valencian family that became embroiled in 15th century Italian politics and produced two popes, Calixtus III and Alexander VI. If you’re familiar with the Showtime series, or resorted to reading about the actual history, a lot of the basic plot points will be familiar. There’s the papacy of Alexander and the triumphs, schemes, and sorrows of his children (yes) Cesare, Lucrezia, Juan, and Jofre. There’s the siege of Rome by the Naples-or-bust French Army, treachery among cardinals, strategic marriages and annulments among nobles, and lots of violence, passion, and revenge. Dunant retains the sizzle but tones down the likely enemy-initiated exaggerations, portraying the family with full descriptive texture and for the most part sympathetically. Alexander and Cesare’s frequent refrain seems to provide a theme: One enemy at a time!
For the ARC of this, please comment to the post. This is probably one of the titles David Glenn will cover at the Random House Book Buzz event next month, as it comes out in mid-July. Thanks to all of you who are planning to come.