This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever listened to. It fully evokes another era and another land. It's a little hard to get into, but be patient and you will fall in love with it. The main character is fascinating and the narrator is excellent. I will be listening to it many more times.
This is a very, very funny book. But underneath the humor, is a heartbreaking tenderness for each and every character. The dying wish of the family patriarch is for his family to sit shiva for one week. Each member of the family is forced to face who they are, and who they are in relationship to the rest of the family. The narration is terrific and I often laughed out loud. But as I said, there is a strain of caring of the author for his characters, and the reader begins to feel the same. A definite keeper to be listened to again and again.
This is a fascinating, historical re-imaging of the Borgias. HOWEVER, it is not a book that you can listen to while doing something else. Because the author takes the time to fill in the background situation, you learn as much about the history of the Italian city-states as about the Borgias. This is very useful, because it puts the Borgias into the culture of the time, in order to understand both the charges against the Borgias and the brutal culture of the times, but also reasons that the charges were exaggerated beyond recognition. While some would find the background details interesting, I could understand frustration with those who just wanted to get to the main subject. It is also one of those books that might be easier read than listened to.
However, if you are a real history buff, and have the patience to listen with care, this is one of the finest histories of the politics of the Italian Renaissance I have come across. It has taken me a little longer than usual to finish, but I have never been bored and have enjoyed every minute.
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