From Jeanne Kalogridis, critically acclaimed author of The Borgia Bride, Painting Mona Lisa and The Devil’s Queen, comes another irresistible historical novel about a countess whose passion and willfulness knew no bounds: Caterina Sforza.
Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased.
Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea, a woman knowledgeable in reading the ‘triumph cards’ – the predecessor of modern-day Tarot. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband’s murder, Caterina single-handedly holds off invaders who would steal her title and lands. However, Dea’s reading of the cards reveals that Caterina cannot withstand a third and final invader – none other than Cesare Borgia, son of the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, who has an old score to settle with Caterina. Trapped inside the Fortress at Ravaldino as Borgia’s cannons pound the walls, Dea reviews Caterina’s scandalous past and struggles to understand their joint destiny, while Caterina valiantly tries to fight off Borgia’s unconquerable army.
Praise for Jeanne Kalogridis:
The Borgia Bride:
‘Love, lust, incest and murder: this historical romance has it all.’
Mail on Sunday
'From sexual passion to mortal danger, the dramatic shift of real historical events will keep the reader turning the pages.'
The Sunday Times
About the author
Jeanne Kalogridis was born in Florida in 1954. She earned a BA in Russian and an MA in Linguistics from the University of South Florida and went on to teach English as a Second Language at the American University in Washington, D.C. She now lives with her partner on the West Coast of the US, sharing a house with two dogs and a bird. Her interests include yoga, Tibatan Buddhism, the occult, languages, art, and reading everything ever published.
This vividly rendered historical takes readers to tempestuous Renaissance Italy, where city-states and noble families battle for supremacy over Italy and, through the papacy, the world. Caterina Sforza comes into power by marrying the illegitimate son of Pope Sixtus, and while her husband is slothful and suspicious, Caterina is clever and ambitious, allying herself with powerful men to ensure her family's success throughout tumultuous times. Always by her side is her confidante, Dea, who has a gift for reading tarot cards, and, as our narrator, relates Caterina's struggles and schemes against a lush backdrop swarming with the most powerful families of the day the Borgias and the Medicis, though these players, unfortunately, feel mostly like window dressing. Seeing the world through Dea's eyes only makes the reader yearn more to know what Caterina, who remains too much a mystery, is thinking. There's plenty of intrigue and conspiracy in the lusty plot, but the characters don't quite sing.