Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Borgia Betrayal by Sara Poole

October 13th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Won from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program

Publication date: June 11, 2011

Publisher: St. Martin Press

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from Before the Tudors, there were the Borgias. More passionate. More dangerous. More deadly.

From the author of Poison, called “stunning”* and “a fascinating page-turner,” comes a new historical thriller, featuring the same intriguing and beautiful heroine: Borgia court poisoner, Francesca Giordano.

In the summer of 1493, Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI, has been pope for almost a year. Having played a crucial role in helping him ascend the chair of Saint Peter, Francesca, haunted by the shadows of her own past, is now charged with keeping him there. As court poisoner to the most notorious and dangerous family in Italy, this mistress of death faces a web of peril, intrigue, and deceit that threatens to extinguish the light of the Renaissance.

As dangers close in from every direction, Francesca conceives a desperate plan that puts her own life at risk and hurls her into a nightmare confrontation with a madman intent on destroying all she is pledged to protect. From the hidden crypts of fifteenth-century Rome to its teeming streets alive with sensuality, obsession, and treachery, Francesca must battle the demons of her own dark nature to unravel a plot to destroy the Borgias, seize control of Christendom, and plunge the world into eternal darkness.

I have to preface this by saying I failed to realize this was book 2 in a series but the synopsis grabbed me since I’ve always had this fascination about the Borgias.  The book started out a little slow for me maybe because I had to figure out who was who, the relationships between them all and who could really trust each other.  Once I got the lay of the land the story drew me in and after taking days to get through the beginning of the book I devoured the rest of it in two sittings.

My favorite part of historical fiction is seeing all the maneuvering that goes on in any royal or in this case papal court.  When you read about the things people do like in the case of Francesca poisoning people they sound pretty despicable but when you dig deeper into why some of these people make the choices they do you start feeling sympathetic.  It sounds like such a cut throat environment to live in and I can’t imagine trying to survive and wonder what I would do in Francesca’s position.  She openly states that she doesn’t feel like she is a good person and she constantly has to protect her friends from her dark side and yet she shows a soft side as she tries to protect her friend’s son and her friends in the secret society, the Lux, from those who mean them harm.

The bit of romance thrown in between Francesca and Cesare was also an interesting puzzle.  I couldn’t tell how deep their relationship really went vs convenience and about using each other for their own purpose.  I can’t wait to see where this relationship goes in the next book.

The major weakness I found in this book was that the villain who was really behind the betrayal wasn’t as fleshed out as they could have been.  It was almost anti-climatic when their identity is revealed and you almost don’t care with everything else that is going on.  Still I will definitely want to read the next book in the series.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction

2 Responses

  1. Kailana

    I had the first book in this series out from the library for weeks and never did get around to reading it… I am going to have to try again because the books do sound good.

  2. Debbie's World of Books

    I’m debating going back and reading it. I got by ok even without it and wonder how it would be now that I already have this set impression on a lot of the characters.

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