In the simmering hot summer of 1492, a monstrous evil is stirring within the Eternal City of Rome. The brutal murder of an alchemist sets off a desperate race to uncover the plot that threatens to extinguish the light of the Renaissance and plunge Europe back into medieval darkness.
Determined to avenge the killing of her father, Francesca Giordano defies all convention to claim for herself the position of poisoner serving Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, head of the most notorious and dangerous family in Italy. She becomes the confidante of Lucrezia Borgia and the lover of Cesare Borgia. At the same time, she is drawn to the young renegade monk who yearns to save her life and her soul.
Navigating a web of treachery and deceit, Francesca pursues her father's killer from the depths of Rome's Jewish ghetto to the heights of the Vatican itself. In so doing, she sets the stage for the ultimate confrontation with ancient forces that will seek to use her darkest desires to achieve their own catastrophic ends.
"Poison is a page-turner with a strong heroine, lots of action scenes and some romance. I expect it will be a popular choice for many, particularly young women who read primarily for entertainment. However, for those who choose historical fiction to learn about a time and place it is unlikely to fit the bill. This is because the author includes little history and corrupts some of the history she does include. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it - I did, but in cartoon kind of way. It was fluffy - one of those books you read when you don't want to think too much." - Kim Kovacs
"Starred Review. Suggest this stunning debut to fans of Ariana Franklins Mistress of the Art of Death, but, really, anyone looking for a mystery with plenty of history will find exactly what they want here." - Booklist
"With a unique heroine, a tumultuous historical era, intrigue, suspense, a vibrant backdrop and a nonstop plotline, Pooles debut delivers a historical mystery to savor." - Romantic Times (four stars)
"The pseudonymous Poole makes a promising debut with this fast-moving historical thriller...Vivid, suspenseful, and capped with an ending that begs a sequel, this is a great first step on the way to the historical fiction A-list." - Publishers Weekly
"Despite some awkward language, this story of a determined poisoner delivers history, intrigue, and suspense." - Library Journal
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Sara Poole is the pen name of a NY Times bestselling author who is branching out to write historical novels. Her long-time fascination with Renaissance Italy and with the Borgias in particular has led her in this new direction. It corresponds nicely with her interest in botany as especially regards the poisonous plants flourishing all around us. Sara lives in the Northeast with her husband and a menagerie of animals who are discouraged from nibbling on anything outside.
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