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The Serpent and the Pearl: Borgias, Book 1 | [Kate Quinn]

The Serpent and the Pearl: Borgias, Book 1

Rome, 1492: The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous - or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web.... Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham.
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Publisher's Summary

Rome, 1492: The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous - or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web....

Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for Pope - and passionately in love with her.

Two trusted companions will follow her into the Pope's shadowy harem: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the enemies begin to circle, Giulia and her friends will need all their wits to survive in the world of the Borgias.

©2013 Kate Quinn (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (73 )
5 star
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4.3 (67 )
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4.4 (67 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 08-24-13
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 08-24-13 Member Since 2007

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "VERY INTERESTING TAKE ON THE BORGIAS"

    I've read a lot of books on the Borgias, both fact and fiction, and watched all the recent cable movies about them. This book is great point of view on the Borgias, told by Guilia Farnese, the teenaged married mistress of the Borgia patriarch, 60 year-old, Rodrigo, later Pope Alexander VI; a cunning intelligent dwarf who is portrayed as a very sexy little person like Emmy Award-winning actor Peter Dinklage in "Game of Thrones"; and a female chef who is on the run from a major crime in Venice. The cool thing is that each character is read by a different narrator. There's nothing more disconcerting than a male narrator trying to sound like a teenaged girl or a female narrator making "courtly love" in a quasi-bass voice. The dialogue is clever and interesting. Well worth the price of admission!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachelle Dundurn, SK, Canada 12-14-13
    Rachelle Dundurn, SK, Canada 12-14-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This was a pleasant surprise!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Serpent and the Pearl the most enjoyable?

    I often struggle with buying audiobooks from first time writers, because I've been burned way too often. Thus, I bought this book with really low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

    I think the best part of it was the choice to have multiple narrators. I found it exceptionally wonderful to listen to these three narrate this story, and what's more, it really complements the way author wrote each character both as they see themselves, and as others see them. That's a clumsy way to describe it, but when you hear it, it will make perfect sense.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I don't read historical fiction so that I can learn about history, but I really do enjoy being able to get a sense of a place and time other than my own here and now. This book does a wonderful job of taking you then and there, and shows you what life is like from more than one point of view.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a credit, worth a listen, and looking forward to book 2!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lindsay DeVries Seattle, WA 09-06-13
    Lindsay DeVries Seattle, WA 09-06-13

    lintoinette

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    "Narrator for Giulia sounds like she needs a nap"
    Any additional comments?

    I think the story content is fascinating, and 2/3 of the narrators are wonderful. However, the narrator for Giulia seriously sounded like Ben Stein running on 2 hours of sleep. I'm gathering she's not a native English speaker, but the prosody was horrible. She'd pause mid sentence and it would be confusing as to the emotional content of the message. I tried listening for 2 days then couldn't do it anymore. Guess I'll read this on my Kindle!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 03-03-14
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 03-03-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Half a book"

    I listened to all of Kate Quinn's The Serpent and the Pearl and I'd have liked to have found out how it ended. Yes, yes, I listened to the entire thing, but the story just stops with the heroes in grave danger and no resolution to any of the stories I've been following for sixteen hours.While it is true that the title includes a "Book 1" after a very strategic colon, I took that to mean the first one in a series - not act one of a story.

    I might listen to the next one if I can't find anything good (want to bet it won't resolve anything either?) but I feel a little ripped off.

    Besides the non-ending, this is a historic melodrama with characters and dialogue that are alright, but in no way memorable. The writer has an annoying tendency to harp on specific characterizations over and over again: Julia has long hair, the dwarf character is short and the cook is thin. Alright to pass the idle hour, but don't get your hopes up that you'll find out how it ends without spending more credits. Bah.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hillary S. McCoy Fort Worth, TX 08-22-13
    Hillary S. McCoy Fort Worth, TX 08-22-13 Member Since 2009

    Hillary McCoy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Story & Performance"
    Any additional comments?

    I am currently listening to this audiobook and am really enjoying it. I've been a big fan of the Studio Canal & Showtime productions of the Borgias and am enjoying the alternate POVs from non-Borgia characters.
    I was disappointed that there weren't any more Kate Quinn books available on Audible yet. I hope they plan to release more of her novels in Audible format.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Kehoe Montana, USA 07-17-14
    Michael Kehoe Montana, USA 07-17-14 Member Since 2008

    numbers cruncher

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent historical fiction"

    A fine book in a great historical setting. Three interesting characters, a talented cook, a savvy dwarf, and vivacious concubine, are placed in the midst of the most openly venal and corrupt papacy in the last millennium. The lead characters are likeable and believable; the Borgia papacy is anything but .... The combination makes for consistently good listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine New Mexico, United States 06-03-14
    Catherine New Mexico, United States 06-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I loved the story and the way Kate Quinn took you inside the Borgia life. She didn't do as most and immediately go for the incest story. As a matter a fact, it was briefly mentioned.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The three narrators made the story interesting and kept it from being another male narrator trying to pull off a female voice.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Loved them all!


    If you could take any character from The Serpent and the Pearl out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Carmelina. I don't know why. :)


    Any additional comments?

    I wish Kate Quinn's other books were in audio too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Raleigh, NC, United States 06-02-14
    Linda Raleigh, NC, United States 06-02-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Entertaining story, poor performance"
    What made the experience of listening to The Serpent and the Pearl the most enjoyable?

    Kate Quinn delivers interesting characters and an entertaining (if insubstantial) story.


    How could the performance have been better?

    All three of the narrators had beautiful voices, but the performance left much to be desired. I'm not sure if the problem was that the narrators were inexperienced, or if they were just reading the book for the first time... but all three performances suffered from awkward pauses and inconsistent pronunciation of names & places.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margit McHaney 05-20-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Overall entertaining but Just OK"
    Any additional comments?

    The story is enjoyable but not addictive like other historical fiction books that I've listened to. The author does a great job of describing the sights, sounds and smells of the characters' surroundings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lara Allison Wall San Diego, CA 02-14-14
    Lara Allison Wall San Diego, CA 02-14-14

    Proverbs 3:27

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    "kept me hanging on every word!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    this book was MADE for audio - the descriptions brought you into the story fully.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • v.jeffs
    Prenton, United Kingdom
    8/13/13
    Overall
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    Story
    "compelling"

    I have just finished listening to this book and loved it. The characters of the dwarf and the female cook have been described so well you feel as though you know them personally.
    I cannot wait until the next book comes out........but I will have to.
    Even though I knew a lot about the Borgias this shows them from a different angle.......the lives of those in his household and how they see the Pope, his children and most importantly his mistress!
    This is a compelling book and will not disappoint!!!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Able Marle Devon
    UK
    2/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just beautiful!"
    What did you like most about The Serpent and the Pearl?

    This story is just gorgeous - you close your eyes and you are back in 15th century Rome.


    What did you like best about this story?

    If you liked the recent TV series you will absolutely adore this book. The characters just spring to life.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    It was lovely to have the story told by 3 people - it made the book really interesting and the narrator's sounded exactly as you imagined Guilia, Carmelina and Leonello to be.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A different side to the Borgia story


    Any additional comments?

    If you love history you will love it, if you don't love history this book will spark your interest and you will probably end up loving history!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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