In the Name of the Family: A Novel
Sarah Dunant’s novel In The Name of the Family, which is the second in a planned series of five, focuses once more on not only the famous, or infamous, Borgia family of Renaissance Italy but also on those who lived closely with them. The novel’s chapters move between Rodrigo Borgia, the now-corrupt and power-hungry Pope Alexander VI, his ruthless and increasingly syphilis-addled bastard son, Cesare, and his daughter Lucrzia, who quickly learns to use her status as a pawn in the great game of politics and treachery to her own ends.
Though the Borgias would provide more than enough material to fill Dunant’s novel, it is in her characterization of Niccolo Machiavelli where her powerful talent for bringing her characters to life truly excels. It is his interaction with Cesare where we see the seeds of creation for what will become his treatise on Renaissance politics, The Prince.
Many writers, when dealing with historical figures, embellish as much as possible while staying barely within the bounds of historical fact. I was very pleased to discover that Dunant does not forgo serious scholarship and research in order to tell a sparkling story. Her characters are fully developed, and I couldn’t help but be pulled in as she moved from character to character seamlessly. Though this could very well be a stand-alone novel, half way through it I had already ordered her first novel in the series. I am intrigued!
|Page Count||448 pages|
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