Rated of 5
by Charla W. (biloxi, mS)
The Borgia Betrayal
This is the 2nd book in the series. The first book was "Poison". But, you need not have read it to enjoy this one. It is a stand alone story. I have not read Poison, and never felt I was missing anything while reading this one.
I loved that the main character was a woman, not just any woman, but a woman doing a mans job in the year 1493. Francesca Giordano was the Poisoner for Pope Alexander VI, aka Pope Roderigo Borgia. Francesca's father had been his poisoner until he was murdered. Then Francesca killed the man that was supposed to take her father's position. She became the poisoner because she knew more about her father's job than anyone.
Francesca's life is overflowing with potential danger to her life. She is part of a group called Lux. The members of the group are interested in Science, and if they are discovered reading and learning, it may be deemed as heresy which is punishable by death. Not just any death, but by being burned at the stake. Her affiliation with this group is very dangerous since she is so close to the Pope and her job is to protect the Pope at all costs.
Francesca is also sleeping with Cesare Borgia, the pope's oldest son. It is rumoured that Pope Alexander VI will make Cesare a Cardinal, which would put him in line to putting down a foundation for a dynasty of Borgia's to rule all of Christendom. The fear of this possibility increases the opposition to Pope Alexander's rule. The main threat is from Morozzi, the mad priest. Morozzi is a threat to the Pope and Francesca is hell bent on killing him with her own hands.
Not only is Francesca's life filled with danger, but it is also filled with romance. There is one steamy love scene in the Papal office that is unforgettable. There is man that lives near Francesca who is a glass blower. He has a son, but his wife has died. Francesca realizes that she has feelings for this man. His name is Rocco and his son's name is Nando. Rocco and Francesca have feelings for each other, but Francesca will not admit to her feelings for him. Rocco wants a mother for Nando. He gives Francesca the opportunity to voice her feelings, but she will not. He tells her that he is going to marry Carlotta d'Agnelli. Inside, Francesca is very sad and longs to be the kind of woman that could be a mother and wife.
This story is full of intrigue, romance, and adventure. Most historical fiction novels are centered on the Kings and Queens of the era. The view in this book is from the opposite side-the Church. It is an interesting view that I have explored very little. The people of the church were as corrupt as anyone could ever be. The Popes had mistresses and dozens of illegitimate children. They were not beyond murder or anything else in order to keep their positions.