Sarah Dunant


In The Name of the Family

A Novel of Machiavelli & The Borgias

‘Times vary and evil and good fortune do not always remain on the same side.’  So says Niccolo Machiavelli, the smart, young Florentine diplomat with a ringside seat on the rise and fall of history’s most deadly and charismatic family – the Borgias.

The year is 1502 and the speed and ferocity of their success is dazzling. Pope Alexander VI – Rodrigo – is openly using his illegitimate children to carve a new dynastic power block in Italy. His son Cesare, once a cardinal, now commands a mercenary army, taking for himself city-states historically owned by the church, while Lucrezia, his beloved, scandal-soaked daughter, is the family’s prize marriage pawn.

Everywhere men bemoan their audacity, brutality and threat, but Niccolo, an avid student of power and human nature, is captivated and as the stakes rise his growing relationship with Cesare Borgia will lay the foundations for his masterpiece, The Prince.

Meanwhile in Rome, the pope rails against old age and his son’s increasing maverick behaviour while Lucrezia, now Duchess of Ferrara, takes her fortune into her own hands.  Having learned from bitter experience the dangers of unguarded love, she will become the Borgia survivor:  confounding her enemies and creating her own place in history.

Over the last decade Sarah Dunant has proved herself to be THE novelist of the Italian renaissance.  In In the Name of the family - as in Blood and Beauty - she sweeps away the myths to bring alive the real Borgia family; passionate, brutal, complex and glorious, holding up a mirror to the moment of history that bred them.

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