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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What A Well Told Story!

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • FCB
  • No. California
  • 07-20-18

Fascinating history & characters

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

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Wonderful narration and good story.

This is another side of the Borgias. I loved the narration by Nicholas Boulton and he really brought the story to life. There were some modern terms I heard in the story, and at times it flipped around a bit too much, putting us in so many characters heads. But it was well written, entertaining, and ended well. I thought the author might go into Juan's role a bit more but they really only spoke of his death. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the Borgias and papal history.

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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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Great Retelling of the Borgia's Story

I am always wary of reading books about Italy's most notorious Renaissance family. Although I find their story captivating, I feel like more times than not, historical fiction about them relies heavily on rumors (such as Lucrezia having affairs with her brother/father/both of them) when it isn't necessary. This book (and its predecessor, Blood and Beauty) were fantastic because they did not fall into this trope in order to tell the story. The Borgia's come alive with all of their bloody vengeance and hot tempered arrogance. I was especially interested in the parts regarding how Alexander began feeling wary of Cesare as his son's power grew and he stopped listening to his father. All of the Borgia's get to have their say in this book, and I feel that Sarah Dunant has a talent for bringing a balance to their characters so that we are able to see their motives and their positive attributes (or at least understand why they may have acted as they did. She is masterful at writing about Alexander and Cesare's chip on their shoulder regarding how they were never accepted by the Italians in Rome). I highly recommend both of her Borgia novels. I couldn't stop listening!

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Great Palace Intrigue

Really well written, with fantastic imagery and wonderful detail. Treacherous, duplicitous behavior by those high & holy - some things seem to never change, but was flagrantly vicious & violent in the Renaissance. I suggest first reading "Leonardo: The First Scientist" by Michael White ....great historical background accompaniment to this. Highly recommend both audiobooks!

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loved it

wonderful story enjoyed every minute of it very well read. narrated well will read again

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Outstanding Historical Treatment

I very nearly did not purchase this book having read a surfeit of Borgia (et al) history, but Dunant's book combined with the exceptionally talented performance of Nicholas Bolton brought astounding vitality to Machiavelli, the Borgias and all the many peripheral people of their time and place that, unlike so many a drier histories, I could not stop listening. They absolutely brought the era to life, alive and juicy!