- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Virago (3 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 184408745X
- ISBN-13: 978-1844087457
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Blood & Beauty Paperback – 3 Apr 2014
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A wonderful novel - taking you deep into the world of Renaissance passion and the Renaissance papacy. Part of me was happily lost in the time travel, part of me repeatedly struck by how vividly ancient Rome met modern Rome, and how the city of history came to life. (Mary Beard)
Blood & Beauty is a fascinating read full of vivid detail and human pathos. Dunant opens a window into the extraordinary machinations and skullduggery of the Borgias and provides us with a richness of description that beautifully locates them within their own time. (Amanda Foreman)
What a marvellous feast of vices and desires Sarah Dunant gives us in Blood & Beauty - lust and ambition, passion and power, destiny born and bought. The Borgias are arguably the most intriguing and ruthless family in all of history, and Dunant brings them ravishingly, bristlingly to life. Absolutely convincing on every page. I was enthralled. (Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife)
An ambitious, thrilling read from a novelist at the height of her powers. The Borgias leap from the page . . . the book offers total immersion in an alien Rome (The Times)
Acclaimed novelist of the Italian Renaissance Sarah Dunant now takes on the era's most infamous family: the Borgias.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The narrative is marked by a sly wit: `the Pope sits in darkness in his bedchamber. Recently his legs have been causing him trouble. Perhaps he is not used to spending so much time on his knees', and is clear-sighted about the characters: `To be lauded as a hero for a battle that everyone knows you didn't win could be a burden as much as a triumph. Juan, however, manages to remain oblivious'.
At the book's heart is Roderigo (pope, devoted family man, easily moved to tears yet ruthless when necessary) and the wonderfully menacing and yet dangerously charismatic Cesare who steals every scene in which he appears. Dunant manages his portrait sensitively and gives him a psychological acuity frequently missing from the more sensationalist literature: her treatment of the capture of Caterina Sforza, for example, is masterly.
Dunant's previous Renaissance books haven't really worked for me but I loved this. It's one of those rare books that I wanted to read slowly to savour the pleasure of every page - and I can't wait for the second volume in the story. This is one of my favourite reads of the year so far - highly recommended.
I had a rather clouded view of the Borgias as the ultimate cruel and corrupted family, especially of the daughter Lucrezia, who has gathered a reputation over time as the face of depravity. But this book plunged me into the heart of a family of talented, seductive individuals consistently conflicted between love and loyalty.
I have loved Sarah Dunant's Renaissance novels for the way in which she chooses to show that turbulent period from a woman's perspective: she now moves from brilliantly researched fiction to a fictional perspective on these larger than life historical figures who 500 years have been centre-stage for gossip, spin and misrepresentation.
The Borgias were of course ruthless and cruel but the book does the brilliant job of giving context and human dimensions to the outsider family who set out to conquer Europe. Starting with the master politician, Rodrigo, who seizes the power offered by the papacy to further his dynasty, the book shows how the four children play their part in his vision of a Borgia empire. They shape-shift, they rewrite history and they transgress - with this goal in mind. But what becomes clear is how the complex ties of emotion between the different members of the family are drawn ever deeper as expediency takes precedent over personal feeling.
The blood of the title is the ambition of the family as well as blood carelessly spilt: the beauty is the seductive charm of the brothers and the daughter and sister who bow to their father's political will.Read more ›
Alexander is however only nominally the principal character in Blood & Beauty, and only in as far as it's important to know about his motivations, his personal inclinations and ambitions, his Spanish origins and his sentiments towards his family if we are to have any really understand the complex web of intrigue that ensues. The Borgia Pope arranges strategic marriages, appointments and alliances for his brood - legitimate and illegitimate - bending the rules where necessary (he is the Pope after all) and the politically motivated manoeuvres, divorces, murders and selective use of poisons he employs to smooth the path towards consolidating the high position of power that he has managed to attain. In such dealings, Sarah Dunant is meticulous and observant, showing that one shouldn't underestimate the power of the Church, the obedience it inspires and the legitimacy it lends rulers who are on its side.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't know what i like more..... The book, the cover or both? Borgias Fans, you will love it too. Unfolds the history of the popular family including historical events.Published 3 months ago by Reducto
Book in wonderful condition. Fabulous read. Would highly recommend both the book and the seller.Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth