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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ€TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Lucrezia Borgia: A Novel Paperback – March 23, 2004

2.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Her contemporaries painted her as an incestuous, conspiring villainess. History has deemed her a hapless political pawn. Now screenwriter and first-time novelist Faunce allows Borgia to speak for herself in this extravagant first-person narrative of Borgia's life in late 15th-century Italy. The child of Pope Alexander VI and a former whore, Borgia is separated from her mother at an early age and raised in the Vatican by her imperious, corrupt father. Her arranged marriage to Count Giovanni Sforza ends abruptly as Giovanni flees Rome for his life (a victim of the pope's ruthless political maneuvers) just as her love for him begins to blossom. With her virginity declared "miraculously" intact, Lucrezia is forced to marry again, this time to one of Italy's richest heirs. As her brother Cesare and the Borgia family name gain political influence, Lucrezia comes to fear her sibling, all the more so after she and her husband, Alphonso, are viciously attacked by assassins in Cesare's employ. Cesare's subsequent actions incite her to even the score. Faunce gives Borgia the voice of a bitchy but self-possessed modern teenager ("What was I thinking? The hell with Cesare. The hell with my impotently sentimental, girly tears, self-pity and dramatization"), which has the stylishly funny appeal of a show on the WB network. It's not as effective, however, for anchoring a historical epic; the political intrigue and scandals tend to run together, narrated in the same relentless pitch of high drama. By the novel's end, when Borgia is in self-imposed exile in a convent, readers may feel like they could use a rest as well.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Narrated by Lucrezia herself, this novelization of the life of one of history's most notorious females is a page-turning expose of the corruption, debauchery, and intrigue that characterized the sixteenth-century papal court. The illegitimate daughter of Roderigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia was raised amid luxury and deception. Viewed as a pawn by her ambitious father and brothers, she was married off twice in efforts to gain political advantage and alliances. Of course, Lucrezia was not a naively innocent victim; she, too, had her own agenda and was not afraid to risk her own safety and reputation to achieve it. This fascinating fictional memoir provides a searing portrait of an intelligent woman, cunning enough to manipulate all the physical, emotional, and political resources available to her to shape her own bizarre destiny. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (March 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400051223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400051229
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,917,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Please don't let this author write again without one!
The book is riddled with spelling and grammar errors (even my seventh-grade daughter knows that you don't seize a horse's "reigns"), but it's the anachronisms that really set my teeth on edge. I'm not an expert in 14th-century language, but I'm willing to bet that the words "spiffy" and "sappy" weren't in common use at that time. And how Lucrezia could refer to someone's utterance as a "malapropism" when the literary character on whose name the term is based didn't exist until the 1800s is beyond me.
What ultimately made this book unreadable for me, though, was the tortured prose. An example: "...these notions became an obsessive sequence of water buckets that I was throwing on my passion's wildfire." This isn't even necessarily the worst example-just the one that occurs on the page where I finally had to give up trying to wade through the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an utter distortion of political and social realities of the late 15th century Italian States. It is poorly written and disappointingly researched. Case in point, Mr. Faunce has in improbable `honeymoon' sex scene between Lucrezia Borgia and her second husband Alfonso of Aragon, situated in the Villa Adriana at Tivoli. Unfortunately for Mr. Faunce, the Villa was sacked by the Barbarians of Totila in late antiquity and the excavation was not begun until 1501, several years after the wedding. The other instances of sheer mendacity are too numerous to list. The book is rife with other asinine inaccuracies that cannot be excused by literary license. It was supposed to be a work of historical fiction, not semi-historical fantasy. There were absolutely no redeeming features to this work.
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Format: Hardcover
Unfortunately, the writer cannot determine if this book was to be a farce, historical fiction, porno, or theater material. It fails miserably to be a good historical novel. Characters are all drawn the same, same dialogue from each. Smut for smut's sake. Very disappointing in so many aspects.
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Format: Hardcover
As one who loves historical fiction, I thought this book would be fabulous (and I might learn something along the way). I also appreciate twisting history a bit to provide a different perspective. Unfortunately, I found this book disappointing on nearly all fronts. It tries too hard.

The overall premise of the story, history from a used Lucrezia's perspective, is interesting and kept me intrigued for about 1/2 of the book. The author's constant attempts at impressing the reader with his knowledge of obscure Greek and Roman allusions was tiresome, however. Mix this with supposed character dialouge conducted in 21st century tones, and you have a very confused book indeed! The sentences were often unnecessarily long and awkwardly constructed. The entire grammatical structure rendered the book tedious and annoying.

The substance could have saved this book, but it sadly didn't. I found myself wondering if the author were trying to imitate (and outdo!) Dan Brown in his theories about the Catholic Church. Interesting, but far fetched. The gratuitous sex and violence finally did the whole thing in. I was just tired of it all before it was even close to ending.
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Format: Paperback
I can't believe I wasted money and time on this book. As soon as I realized how bad it was, it became a challenge to see how much worse it was going to be, and that's why I finished to the end.

When you write a historical fiction, you don't have to vouch for all the fictional parts you create, but at the minimum you do basic research to make sure that known historical facts are correct. The author did not even do that. This is gross intellectual sloth. For instance, he is describing Lucrezia making omelettes for her husband or characters talking about drinking coffee. Both food items in Europe were NOT known/discovered until much later. These are just minor items. Major known historical facts are terribly butchered in this book. Such as the background of her marriages and her brothers (Ceasare)'s various ventures.

There is no psychologically compelling description/analysis of characters and no attempt to imbue a level of complexity into the general ambiance and the psychological/historical realities of the time and the characters. After all, all the major characters are major historical figures, and some of them left a trail of facts that can be verified, and the author did not even bother to remain accurate.

All this, I can forgive, if the writing itself is tolerable. The writing is TERRIBLE. I don't mind vulgar writing if it has its own integrity in its vulgarity - writing can be absolutely, hilariously vulgar and achieve a level of brilliance in its own category. This author's writing should be characterized as insipid vulgarity, which no self respecting author should ever be accused of and still have the courage to call himself/herself as an author. How could anyone claim to be a published writer with such insipid writing is beyond me.

In short, this is a historical novel worthy of having been written by an air headed valley girl.
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Format: Hardcover
I readily admit that I prefer historical novels with more emphasis on the historical than the novel. However, as a novel it is a disappointment. The characters are flat and the book plain boring. Faunce throws in a little Greek and Latin and a few Dante quotes into the narrative but fails to make them at all relevant to the reader or the characters. Is he trying to play a scholar?
If you are looking for a history don't read this because Faunce does not use the very few facts available to us about Lucrezia but instead embellishes her notorious reputation. There is no doubt that many a sorrid rumor (some probably true, some probably not) circulated about Lucrezia during her lifetime. You would think Faunce would stick to these rumors but instead he has Lucrezia rolling around in her husband's blood while being [attacked] by her brother and enjoying it! Is Faunce describing his own fantasies? Is he writing a script for a play or a movie he wants to produce? Couldn't he have just stuck to the rumors as they were 500 years ago? They were certainly racy enough.
I hope someone with a genuine interest in both history and the portrayl of a colorful woman in the 16th century will eventually write a biography or an historical novel worthy of Lucrezia Borgia.
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