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Prince of Foxes Paperback – October 28, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Bridge Works (October 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882593642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882593644
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A novel as colorful as the era itself. Fiction yes, but convincing fiction, based on sound scholarship and inspired research. (San Francisco Chronicle )

A superior performance...It is long and exciting and romatic and filled with precusely accurate historical detail...A rich abundance of hairbredth escapes, last-minute resces, splendid feats of arms and masterly intrigues. But the age was crammed with just such matters and thes do not strain credulity more than the conventions of historical romance allow...Good popular story-telling and a lively pageant of life in the Italy of the Borgia. (The New York Times )

A magnificent job from beginning to end—a completely absorbing book. (Boston Herald )

There are many reasons for reading Prince of Foxes—not least, as some reviewers like to say, that it's just about impossible to put it down once you start it—but I would like to put it forward as a textbook example of what American were reading during the golden age of American popular fiction. This period lasted for about three decades, from the early 1930's to the late 1950's, during which much of the commercial fiction that millions of American read for pleasure—ficstion that made the best-seller lists—was work of considerable literary skill and stylistic distinctiveness. That stands in sharp contrast to the popular fiction Americans now read...None wrote better than Shellabarger...Shellabarger was an educator by training and inclination, and he wanted readers to learn from his novels as wella s be entertained by them. To say that you will learn a lot about Renaissance Italy from Princes of Foxes is an understatement. (Jonathan Yardely, Pulitzer Prize winning book critic and columnist for the Washington Post and author of six books. )

If you like historical novels (personally, I do) it is certainly required reading. (Saturday Review Of Literature )

With equal skill he touches on the complex nature of that fierce and flowering age, manipulates love as well as battle, agitates one, amid a ceaseless whirl of pomp, murder, sex , intrigue, romance, war, high adventure, into a near swoon os suspense. Dr. Shellabarger displays his great learning with exceptional skill. The sets are opulent, but so adroitly organized that one is not so much impressed by the erudition they manifest as hypnotized by their glowing vitality...A faithful and fascinating resurrection of the spirit and look of a furiously exciting, cruel and splendid age. (The New York Times )

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
This was my husbands' favorite book years ago.
C. A. Potter
Prince of Foxes is a wonderful, spellbinding tale that drew me in with its intense narrative, its expressive prose, and its captivating characters.
C. Averkamp
This was a favorite of mine back when I was a kid and I'm so happy to see that it is back in print.
J. L. Oakley (Tree Soldier & Timber Rose)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By sophia taylor on September 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
It seems as though swashbuckling, adventure, and intrigue, reached their all time highs in the Renaissance Italy of Samuel Shellabarger's novel, The Prince of Foxes. Frome the moment we meet the hero, Messer Andrea Orsini, in the workshop of a famous artisan with an order from the Pope, his charm and guile are evident. Having a sympathetic hero ( or rather heroes, if one chooses to include Camilla Borglione and Mario Belli in that elite group), is one of the strengths of this book. And Orsini is not the only one capable of holding attention, as Shellabarger weaves a veritable net of notable secondary characters.
The historical accuracy of the novel is doubtful, but because of the subtle atmosperic touches and use of Italian Renaissance vocabulary it is very easy to insert oneself into the action. In fact, the descriptions of the clothing of the period are so vivid, I found myself envying the beautiful gowns and jewelry.
This book was a quick read, as the action kept a steady pace and the plot took unexpected twists and turns. But I can't tell you anymore, lest I spoil the adventure. And so....."To a clatter of hoofs on the drawbridge, a ruffle of drums, a flourish of trumpets, a grounding of halberds....." I'll leave you to the Prince of Foxes.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By ptum@wwnet.com on December 17, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In the finest tradition of historical romance writers Rafael Sabatini and Alexandre Dumas, Prince of Foxes is Shellabarger's masterpiece. More exciting and cheerful than his other works, including Captain from Castille or Lord Vanity, the author uses Prince of Foxes to weave a rich historical tapestry while carefully mapping the transition of a human heart from greed to love, self-interest to nobility. The captivating and increasingly admirable character of Andrea Orsini, Shellabarger's Renaissance Man, delights the reader with his wit and charm, while warming the heart with his loyalty and courage.
Although I have found Rafael Sabatini's writings to be generally superior to those of Shellabarger, this is without a doubt the best novel I have ever had the privilege of reading.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By drommie1810 on September 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
Woo-hoo! After years of hoarding the two old library-discard copies of Prince of Foxes my grandmother gave me (one to read, one apparently to keep locked up in case something horrible happened to copy number one), it's finally available again! Now I can recommend with impunity...

Wonderful book, no matter your interests. Now all we have to do is get Lord Vanity back into print.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Miranda Good on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heartily agree with other readers who have given Prince of Foxes 5 stars. This novel is fast-paced, informative, believeable, beautifully written and a fantastic blend of history and fiction. Mr. Shellabarger manages to educate the reader about the warring Italian city states of the period while holding their attention with a wholly credible depiction of people and places of the time. The characters in these pages are not the stick figure cartoons of so many bodice-rippers, but display actual psychological development and manage to engage the reader into caring about them - a rare occurrence in much of what passes these days as historical fiction. Once I got past about the first two chapters, I couldn't put this one down. There are no contrived coincidences to spoil the plot development, none of the artificial saving of the day that too often destroys believability. This has to rate as one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a long time, not to mention, has captured my attention to the extent that I now want to learn more about the Borgias and the times they lived in. Highly recommended. (As an aside, I was disappointed to find that the Tyrone Power/ Orson Welles Hollywood film based on the book is not available on any of the DVD sites I checked. Maybe just as welll, as my own mental images of the characters remain unspoiled.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
My father handed me his old worn copy of Prince of Foxes, without even a cover, and told me that I'd like it. Well, he was more than right. If you like action, intrigue, romance, and who doesn't, this is a great book. Believe me, order it now, you won't be sorry!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book when a was a teenager, years and years ago, finding the hardcover from the original publication in a trove of an older siblings books. It made an indelible impression on me then, and, re-reading it, it still does. Pagentry, politics, emotional angst, it's all here. The book made such a vivid impression on me, that when I travelled to Italy years later, one of the most exciting experiences I had was to go to the Castel Saint'Angelo outside Rome. Not only is it the site where Tosca jumps to her death in the opera, but it's the setting for the very atmospheric scene in "Prince of Foxes" where Andrea goes to the secret audience with Borgia and is worried about being assasinated. That's how concrete that scene was. They don't write books like this anymore. For years, I was upset over the fact that I have thick thumbs, like Angela Borgia!
The movie that was made in the 1950s (Tyrone Power as Orsini, Orson Welles as Borgia and Wanda Hendrix as Camilla) does not do the book justice, for all that there are some nice scenes actually filmed on location in Italy. Oh, and Tyrone Power does look great in tights. Check him out in the wedding scene at the end.
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