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Prince of Foxes Paperback – July 31, 2002
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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 )
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Wonderful book, no matter your interests. Now all we have to do is get Lord Vanity back into print.
The writing reflects the suppression of anything beyond mildly risque of Shellabarger's epoch and the adrenalin factor isn't quite up to that of Cornwell, Iggulden, O'Brien, or Lambden, But Shellabarger's suspension of disbelief is their equal and the topical historic theme is more complex than any taken up so far by those four.
In 1949, 20' ' C Fox made a movie from the book with Tyrone Power and Orson Welles. Good movie, but a complete visual treat as a travelogue of Italy in the midst of postwar reconstruction. And it's pretty faithful to the book. (Hint: Mercury Theater's Everett Sloane steals the day!)
If your current favorite historical fiction writer just can't stay ahead of your reading appetite, take a break to a time 70 years ago when a very talented writer was setting the pace.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You often hear about the Borgias in films or in references, but Shellabarger gives some real insight into how evil they really were. Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by John Sooter
Beware of war propaganda masquerading as entertainment. If you can't get enough of how glamorous war can be when done up in fancy dress and, of course, when you can feel yourself... Read morePublished on January 26, 2014 by CatLover
Prince of Foxes / by Samuel ShellabargerWhen I found this book on-line I had to get it. This is one of my all time favorites. Read morePublished on August 30, 2012 by diane thomas
Renaissance Italy is not a setting that I'm particularly drawn to. However, I am particularly drawn to older books and older writers; and since many consider this historical... Read morePublished on September 22, 2011 by Michele
Prince of Foxes is a classic, carefully nuanced tale of honor versus ambition, complete with love, war, art, and accurate history told by a novelist who was also a historian. Read morePublished on July 28, 2011 by lauren sylvan
What can I say? 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. Read morePublished on March 3, 2011 by J. L. Oakley (Tree Soldier ,Timber Rose, and Saddle Road)
This is a phenomenal novel. It is richly detailed yet never gets bogged down. The characters are all interesting and the dialog is sharp, witty and subtle. Read morePublished on December 25, 2010 by Scorpio69
Just a great book with some outstanding characters that delivers on action, drama, romance and a profound message about faith. Read morePublished on October 13, 2010 by Jim G