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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to an interesting historical period & characters
There is much more story in this book than the number of pages really allows and it has the feel of an unfinished work (which it was).
By no means a bad book, I think one could compare it to say
the silmarillion vs the lord of the rings (different genres, but stick with me).
The Borgias were a lifelong interest perhaps even obsession for Mario Puzo and the...
Published on 21 Mar 2004 by Amazon Customer

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Such a pity it sounded so promising
According to the afterword Mario Puzo was fascinated by 15th century Italy. This was his last novel, it was a 'labour of love two decades in the making' which he never quite finished. It's all the more tragic then that this is a novel that some how never quite works.
It's not surprising that the
ghosts of the Corleones stalk these pages since the similarities...
Published on 14 Mar 2002 by Beth Harding


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4.0 out of 5 stars 15th Century Godfather, 13 July 2007
By 
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
If you like both the "The Godfather" and Renaissance history, "The Family" is the book for you. An historical novel, it is the fictionalized story of the Borgia family of Rodrigo (Pope Alexander VI) and his children, principally Ceasare, the Cardianl turned warrior, and Lucrezia, the beloved commodity who could be shopped around Europe for the best alliance. From the little I have been able to research, the story line seems to be bases in fact, or at least legends which have become fact.

The story reads like that of a 15th century Mafia family. Everything that characterizes the Corleones is also found in the Borgias. Like their later day literary successors, this family revels in intrigue, murder (even within the family), lust, incest and all round disgusting behavior, all within the nurturing environment of a closely knit family.

Normally I would be repelled by a tale of immoral behavior such as this, but "The Family" held my interest. Maybe it is the peak into the life of the clerical nobility of the Renaissance at its worst or maybe it is because the times are so remote from our own that the Borgias do not pose a threat. Maybe it is because people like that really do not inhabit our world anymore. But come to think of it, we still have Corleones don't we?
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely get this book!, 19 May 2004
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
I would never call myself a book person, more one of those people who wait for the movie to come out, but when I came across 'The Family' I became truly immersed. This book takes you back to the fascinating world of renaissance Italy, and the magnificent wealth of the papacy. There is undoubtedly a political theme in this book, it discovers the nature of the power struggles that took place during this time, but this is combined with a wonderful tale of family loyalty and love. One can't help but get lost in the narrative and you truly feel as if you're involved in every exchange between the characters. Some might say this is 'The Godfather' with a historical twist, but perhaps this is by no means a bad thing. The struggle between thirst for power and love for ones family is portrayed in a truly special way, you can feel Puzo's passion on every page. If you read anything, please read this guys!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrendous!, 12 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
This is the story of one of the most (in)famous families of all times - the Borgias.
The father of the family, Rodrigo Borgia, the Spaniard who has become a Pope of Rome, wants nothing more than to glorify Rome and arrange the future of his 3 favourite children - the smart and cunning Cesare; the impressionable Juan, who have always needed protection; and Lucrezia, beautiful, clever and vulnerable.
His children, though he loves them, are but a tool in his justified quest for power, for the much diminished glory of Rome and united Italy. He makes friends of enemies and enemies of friends, with his children unwilling but cooperative accomplices.

This book was a huge disappointment. After enjoying the TV series "The Borgias" I wanted to read a novel about them and this was the only one in my local library. I should have been more discerning... It's just that after watching "Rome" and getting interested in Caesar the first book I read was "Masters of Rome" series, and after watching "The Tudors" and looking for a novel about the period, the first one I read was "Wolf Hall". And after watching "Game of Thrones" and wanting to read a book about the War of the Roses, the first one I read was "The Sunne in Splendour". I was hoping this lucky streak will continue with "The Family" and remembered, 20 pages into it, what should have been obvious after reading "The Godfather" all those years ago - Mario Puzo cannot write. No, that's harsh. He can write - an encyclopedia entry, not a novel that should, theoretically, have a plot and dialogues.
Because nothing happens. The book just drags on and on, with whole pages going by without a single conversaion, just an endless parade of facts. One can't even tell how much time passes, it might be a single year or twenty.
Even the characters, those larger than life figures that history remembers, are nothing more than Mar(t)y S(t)ues and caricatures.
I'm sure that somewhere out there is a great novel about the Borgia family. I'm sure to find it someday.

If you spend your free time reading Wikipedia articles and a nice plot is enough to sell a book to you, then this might be the novel for you. But if you are spoiled by brilliant writing of, say, Hilary Mantel, Robert Harris,Steven Saylor and George R.R. Martin, then "as you value your life or your reason keep away from" books written by Mario Puzo.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Borgia Mafia, 23 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Family (Kindle Edition)
I've been fascinated by Cesarean Borgia and his family since adolescence. My favourite source is Rafael Sabatini. Orson Welles was magnetic in 'Prince of Foxes' and the current TV series 'the Borgias' is gripping. Puzo's history is no 'Godfather', but well researched and a handy guide to a complex era
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars historical novel about the Borgias., 11 July 2013
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This review is from: The Family (Kindle Edition)
Gripped me from the start and continues to do so. Catalogue's the intrigues of a powerful, political but corrupt family during the middle ages.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books that I've ever read!, 22 May 2013
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
It is thoroughly entertaining and clarified a lot of facts that I did not understand after watching 'The Borgias' on Sky Atlantic.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good, 22 April 2013
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A. Darman - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
Good book. Please recommended to anyone who like Mario puzo, writing ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much telling, not showing., 26 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Family (Kindle Edition)
Initially found this interesting and fascinating, but about a quarter of the way in Puzo starts to tell names and places and events really swiftly and I couldn't picture anything or keep track of who was who. Lost interest and moved on to something else. He does this 'telling not showing' in The Godfather a bit, but somehow it doesn't spoil that as much as it does here. There are lots of other versions of the story of the Borgias, so I'll be browsing for one of those. Disappointing because I absolutely loved The Godfather.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hot and hilarious, 31 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
Let's begin with Mario Puzo's THE FAMILY. Puzo has had a life-long passion for the Borgias, as have I. His book is both hilarious and hot. Take Astorre Manfredi. The kid was 18 and his brother 15. Astorre was the most handsome lad living at the time. Painters came from all around to do his portrait. He had also inherited a small kingdom that Cesare Borgia coveted. So Cesare convinces the kid to give him his spread in exchange for a few weeks in Rome, the then-equivalent to today's Vegas. Because Astorre knew he had no choice (due to Cesare's military superiority), he consented. The next scene has Astorre and Cesare in a hot tub (I'm not kidding!), although this one is of stone. Astorre puts his hand on Cesare's thigh, but Cesare gently moves it away, saying he's not that kind of guy (again, I'm not kidding). Later I'll tell you what happens to the most beautiful boy in Italy. Another scene: Cesare is in the apartments of his father, Pope Alexander VI, who's at his table writing. Cesare's caressing his sister Lucrezia but because he's not too gentle, Lucrezia calls for her father's assistance. This comes as no surprise since the old man is also an old pervert of the very worst kind (and as there's no real justice in life, he eventually dies in bed--he should have rotted in Hell, but there's also no Hell). The Pope her father takes over the caressing and then prompts his son to enter, deftly, nevertheless well-used portals, encouraging the boy to go gently by gently stroking his butt. One star.
E.R. Chamberlin's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF BORGIA is old but complete. We learn that slaves could be bought for as little as six ducats, that Tartars were the best workers and Russians and Circassians best for one's bed. Prostitutes died penniless, justifying the saying the `'Venus reduces her worshipers to her own nudity.'' We learn that the gorgeous Astorre and his brother were murdered `'after they had sated the lust of a certain person,'' that person being Pope Alexander VI. One of Cesare's lieutenants was such a tyrant that `'he had thrust a clumsy page boy into the fire, pressing him down with a foot while the boy burned alive.'' Chamberlin doesn't hesitate to reveal gossip concerning Cesare, that he killed his own brother Juan in order to have access to Juan's wife Sancia and because both brothers, jealous of each other, wished to continue incestuous access to their sister Lucrezia.
Ivan Cloulas in THE BORGIAS brings us this quote from a playwright: Do people say that I am both your father and your lover? Let the world, that heap of vermin as ridiculous as they are feebleminded, believe the most absurd tale. The great law of the world is ... to grow and develop what is strongest and greatest in us. Walk straight ahead. Leave hesitation and scruples to small minds.
Marion Johnson in his THE BORGIAS tells us that Cesare had addressed questions to the scientist of the papal court about poisons; he wished to know the ways of poisoning cups, perfumes, flowers, saddles and ever stirrups (!!!).
I did read Rafael Sabatini's book THE LIFE OF CESARE BORGIA, but found it a bit outdated (1929).
Christopher Hibbert's THE BORGIAS AND THEIR ENEMIES tells us about Manfredi: `'Four days later the corpse had been fished out of the Tiber, drowned by a stone tied round his neck. This young man was of such beauty and stature that it would not be possible to find his equal among a thousand of his contemporaries.'' About Cesare: `'Cesar had fallen sick again of that illness of his. Now the flowers (as the syphilitic rashes were euphemistically known) are starting to bloom again.'' When Cesare married: `'He had consummated the matrimony eight times, but these eight times consisted of two before supper and six at night.'' Concerning the Pope, Cesare and his daughter during an orgy: `'At the end they displayed prizes, silk mantles, boots, caps and other objects which were promised to whomsoever should have made love to these prostitutes the greatest number of times.'' When it was reported to the Pope that his new son-in-law was sleeping with others than Lucrezia (`'It was reported that he took his pleasure with other women during the day'') the Pope said, `'Being young it does him good.'' Naturally, this is my favorite book. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a weird book, 28 Dec 2011
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
The Family A pleasant and amusing enough book, however, it is very strange reading about a noble renaissance family calling each other by abbreviated names. Gio for Giovanni, Chez for Cesare, Crezia for Lucrezia. I have lived a long time now among noble families in Italy and I have never heard these. American way of indicating intimacy among family and friends, perhaps? Well, modern Italians don't and they certainly did not during the Renaissance.
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The Family
The Family by Mario Puzo (Paperback - 2 July 2009)
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