Thursday, March 2, 2017

In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant

I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Sarah Dunant's latest novel. With In the Name of the Family Sarah Dunant continues the saga of the notorious Borgia family begun in Blood and Beauty. The new novel however can easily be read as a stand alone. The book presents the voices of Lucrezia, Cesare, Rodrigo; the Borgia pope and Niccolo Machiavelli.  The year is 1502. Rodrigo Borgia is Pope Alexander VI. He is inordinately wealthy, calculating and powerful. His son Cesare is a military strategist intent on becoming the most powerful man in Italy and Lucrezia is once again betrothed; this time to Alfonso heir to the Dukedom of Ferrara . Following the family through the eyes of Florentine diplomat Machiavelli and through their own accounts In the Name of the Family recounts the last year and a half of the rule of the Borgia Pope and the daring attacks carried out by Cesare in his attempts to conquer Italy while Lucrezia contends with an indifferent husband, a penny pinching father-in-law and a jealous sister-in-law. What Machiavelli learns as he watches the unfolding saga of the Borgias will inform his masterwork on politics and power The Prince.
It is a testament to the skill of Sarah Dunant's storytelling that the characters are alive and vivid as people not as the evil caricatures handed down through history. Although despite this the author doesn't hold back at portraying the cruel acts carried out in their names; by Cesare and his henchmen in particular. However their weaknesses and the dangers of illness and disease are also an integral part of the story. This is an intriguing look at one of the most powerful, cruel, ambitious and interesting families of the Renaissance. It is also a fascinating look at the history of syphilis which had begun to spread just a few years before and was known as the 'French pox', Cesare was a noted sufferer and was subjected to a number of treatments during this period. Sarah Dunant has clearly done intensive research on the period. Through a number of books she has presented a variety of portraits of Renaissance Italy and it is her power to bring the period vividly to life that makes her stand out as an author of historical fiction.
Perfect for fans of Alison Weir, Marina Fiorato and Elizabeth Fremantle.

In the Name of the Family is out now in hardback and e-book from Virago. Thanks so much to Hayley Camis for an e-book copy for review. You can learn more about Sarah and her books by checking out her excellent website.

The blog tour continues see banner for details

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