Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant

89%

7 Critic Reviews

...Blood & Beauty renders history a useful annotation on its vivid characters.
-NPR

Synopsis

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Italian Renaissance novels—The Birth of Venus, In the Company of the Courtesan, and Sacred Hearts—has an exceptional talent for breathing life into history. Now Sarah Dunant turns her discerning eye to one of the world’s most intriguing and infamous families—the Borgias—in an engrossing work of literary fiction.
 
By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched by its brutality and corruption, nowhere more than in Rome and inside the Church. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined not just by his wealth or his passionate love for his illegitimate children, but by his blood: He is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for life, women, and power must use papacy and family—in particular, his eldest son, Cesare, and his daughter Lucrezia—in order to succeed.
 
Cesare, with a dazzlingly cold intelligence and an even colder soul, is his greatest—though increasingly unstable—weapon. Later immortalized in Machiavelli’s The Prince, he provides the energy and the muscle. Lucrezia, beloved by both men, is the prime dynastic tool. Twelve years old when the novel opens, hers is a journey through three marriages, and from childish innocence to painful experience, from pawn to political player.
 
Stripping away the myths around the Borgias, Blood & Beauty is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
 
“Dunant transforms the blackhearted Borgias and the conniving courtiers and cardinals of Renaissance Europe into fully rounded characters, brimming with life and lust.”
—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Like Hilary Mantel with her Cromwell trilogy, [Sarah] Dunant has scaled new heights by refashioning mythic figures according to contemporary literary taste. This intellectually satisfying historical saga, which offers blood and beauty certainly, but brains too, is surely the best thing she has done to date.”
—The Miami Herald
 
“Compelling female players have been a characteristic of Dunant’s earlier novels, and this new offering is no exception. . . . The members of this close-knit family emerge as dynamic characters, flawed but sympathetic, filled with fear and longing.”
—The Seattle Times
 
“Dazzling . . . a triumph on an epic scale . . . filled with rich detail and page-turning drama.”
BookPage
 
“The Machiavellian atmosphere—hedonism, lust, political intrigue—is magnetic. . . . Readers won’t want the era of Borgia rule to end.”
People (four stars)
 

About Sarah Dunant

See more books from this Author
SARAH DUNANT is the author of international bestsellers Sacred Hearts, The Birth of Venus and In the Company of the Courtesan. Her earlier novels include three Hannah Wolfe crime thrillers, as well as Snowstorms in a Hot Climate, Transgressions, and Mapping the Edge, all three of which are available as Random House Trade Paperbacks.

























Author Residence: London, England and Florence, Italy

























Author Hometown: London, England
 
Published November 12, 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers. 528 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Blood and Beauty
All: 7 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Jul 05 2013

In “Blood and Beauty,” Dunant illuminates the darkened narrative of the Borgia record, reviving stained glass with fresh light, refreshing the brilliance of the gold and blue panes history has marred without dulling the blood-red that glows everywhere around them.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on May 25 2013

Blood & Beauty is a high-class, colourful Renaissance soap opera, and one that will leave readers itching for the next instalment.

Read Full Review of Blood and Beauty | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Christobel Kent on May 02 2013

If the careful path...that Dunant treads between intelligent historical analysis and shameless romp very occasionally veers into Carry On Lucrezia territory...on balance this only adds to the gaiety of the enterprise.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on May 25 2013

Blood & Beauty is a high-class, colourful Renaissance soap opera, and one that will leave readers itching for the next instalment.

Read Full Review of Blood and Beauty | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Christobel Kent on May 02 2013

...it is difficult not to look forward to the next ride on an old-fashioned rollercoaster of a story.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Lizzie Skurnick on Jul 23 2013

...Blood & Beauty renders history a useful annotation on its vivid characters.

Read Full Review of Blood and Beauty | See more reviews from NPR

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 18 2013

Dunant’s biggest and best work to date, this intelligently readable account of formative events and monster players has Hilary Mantel–era quality best-seller stamped all over it.

Read Full Review of Blood and Beauty | See more reviews from Kirkus

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Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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