• In the Name of the Family

  • A Novel
  • By: Sarah Dunant
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (336 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The author of Blood and Beauty returns with another captivating novel about Renaissance Italy and one of history's most notorious families. Before the Corleones, before the Lannisters, there were the Borgias.

Best-selling novelist Sarah Dunant has long been drawn to the high drama of Renaissance Italy: power, passion, beauty, brutality, and the ties of blood. With In the Name of the Family, she offers a thrilling exploration of the House of Borgia's final years, in the company of a young diplomat named Niccolò Machiavelli.

It is 1502, and Rodrigo Borgia, a self-confessed womanizer and master of political corruption, is now on the papal throne as Alexander VI. His daughter Lucrezia, age 22 - already three times married and a pawn in her father's plans - is discovering her own power. And then there is his son Cesare Borgia, brilliant, ruthless, and increasingly unstable; it is his relationship with Machiavelli that gives the Florentine diplomat a master class in the dark arts of power and politics. What Machiavelli learns will go on to inform his great work of modern politics, The Prince. But while the pope rails against old age and his son's increasingly erratic behavior, it is Lucrezia who must navigate the treacherous court of Urbino, her new home, and another challenging marriage to create her own place in history.

Sarah Dunant again employs her remarkable gifts as a storyteller to bring to life the passionate men and women of the Borgia family as well as the ever-compelling figure of Machiavelli, through whom the listener will experience one of the most fascinating - and doomed - dynasties of all time.

©2017 Sarah Dunant (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Hedonism, lust, political intrigue.... With so much drama, readers won't want the era of Borgia rule to end." ( People)
"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)
"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)

What listeners say about In the Name of the Family

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

One of the best historical fiction novels

I love the mix of documented facts and details of the period. The book is both educational and entertaining. The narrator's voice is wonderful to listen to!

9 people found this helpful

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What A Well Told Story!

Sarah does a wonderful job telling this story. She captures Lucrezia Borgia especially well.

5 people found this helpful

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Wow!! Blown away by this one...

Incredibly well-written historical fiction. I’ve read and watched so much about the Borgias that I was a bit tired of the subject. I’m so thankful to those who wrote reviews of this book! It’s truly exceptional story telling! I will definitely listen to the rest of Sarah Durant’s books.
The narrator is excellent, though at first his character accents put me off. After 30 mins, I was loving it. It will grow on you.

3 people found this helpful

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Tripe

Amazing lack of truth. False narrative, time line is okay, narrator is good. Fairy tale other wise.

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Nicholas Boulton rocks!

Love this well-researched depiction of the Borgi family. Wish the scope were larger but this story is very dramatic. The narrator Boulton is masterful in portrayal of the characters.

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Interesting but a little slow

Interesting information but some of the book was ponderous and other descriptions of deaths a bit graphic.

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Not the typical Dunant Fare

I have really enjoyed Dunant’s work in the past; however, this one fell a bit flat for me. I appreciate the attention to detail and the license of the author in the depiction of the Borgia family: the threads at time seemed to not quite connect fully for me, though. I believe the Lucrezia narrative was indeed the strongest, especially with the attention offered to the possibility that she may have been infected with her husband’s affliction. That was honestly one of the more engaging points in the story for me. For hardcore history buffs, I think this would be either hit or miss.

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For Fans of the Borgias

Another deep dive into the Italian Renaissance for Sarah Dunant though it reads more like history than the wonderfully imaginative worlds of the author's original Renaissance novels.

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Loved this book!

Like the author, I love history! This book is filled with historical information, plots and intrigue. The narrator is great. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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Fascinating history & characters

Well-written and engaging. Characters and setting well-developed. Memorable way to get a view into history.

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