In the Name of the Family

In the Name of the Family

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Before the Corleones, before the Lannisters, there were the Borgias. One of history's notorious families comes to life in a captivating novel from the author of The Birth of Venus .

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY COSMOPOLITAN (UK) AND THE TIMES (UK)

"In the end, what's a historical novelist's obligation to the dead? Accuracy? Empathy? Justice? Or is it only to make them live again? Dunant pays these debts with a passion that makes me want to go straight out and read all her other books."--Diana Gabaldon, The Washington Post

Bestselling 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 Niccol#65533; 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, aged twenty-two--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 reader will experience one of the most fascinating--and doomed--dynasties of all time.

"Enthralling . . . combines flawless historical scholarship with beguiling storytelling."-- The Guardian

"Renaissance-rich details fill out the humanity of the Borgias, rendering them into the kind of relatable figures whom we would hope to discover behind the cold brilliance of The Prince ."--NPR

"[Dunant] has an enviable command of this complex political scene, with its shifting alliances and subtle betrayals. . . . [She] has a special gift for attending to her female characters." --The New York Times
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812996975
0812996976
Characteristics: 429 pages ; 25 cm

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brangwinn
Oct 24, 2017

Because of the many points of view this is not the easiest historical novel to follow, but it is well worth the effort. Because of Dunant’s careful research about the Borgia family and her deft writing, the reader becomes enmeshed in the deceit and loves of the Borgia family, in particular Lucrezia. Among the points of view, I most appreciated was that of the Florentine diplomat, Machiavelli. The intrigue and back-stabbing that made the world of the Borgia pope is all here.

t
tjdickey
Sep 25, 2017

A continuation of Dunant's "Blood and Beauty," and even better in the writing. We see the Borgias as somehow more human, though perhaps no less frightening in this vision: there are faint echoes of Hitler in some of the "diplomacy." The relationship between Lucrezia and poet Pietro Bembo is touchingly drawn, and the electric, emotional and intellectual chemistry between masterminds Cesare Borgia and Niccolo Machiavelli alone is worth the reading.

Chapel_Hill_AmandaG Feb 20, 2017

This dazzling historical tale continues the Borgia epic that began in Blood and Beauty. Lucrezia is now on marriage three and is the newly minted duchess of Ferrara. Cesare is as power hungry as ever and is at the pinnacle of his career. Alexander VI is now an aging pope who is concerned about his family’s legacy. We see an introduction of a new voice, Niccolo Machiavelli, who is representing Florence’s interests but cannot help but be impressed by the machinations of the Borgia family. As always, Sarah Dunant succeeds in bringing history to life with her attention to detail and her well-fleshed out characters. She is not trying to erase Borgia’s bad reputation, but instead shed light on their very human motivations and desires. I appreciated that the author did not go for the story with the most scandal. Instead, she used the historical record to create a plausible telling of these characters and events. I especially enjoyed Machiavelli’s outsider perspective because it gave me an understanding of how contemporaries viewed this family. I would be hard pressed to find a complaint of this book other than I was left wishing for even more. The Borgias might still be a family we love to hate, but thanks to Sarah Dunant we might understand them a little more.

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