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In The Name Of The Family - Sarah Dunant

In The Name Of The Family


Published: 28th February 2017
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Published: 2nd March 2017
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A thrilling new novel from the bestselling author of The Birth Of Venus and In The Company Of The Courtesan

1502 and Renaissance Italy is in turmoil. Backed by the money and wily power of his ageing father Pope Alexander VI, Cesare Borgia is soaring like a military comet, carving out a state for the Borgia dynasty. From Florence, a young diplomat, one Niccolo Machiavelli, is sent to shadow him to keep track of the danger. While many tremble in the presence of this brilliant unscrupulous man, Machiavelli is entranced and the relationship he forges with Cesare allows him - and us - to witness history in the making.

Meanwhile, the Pope's beloved daughter Lucrezia is on her way to a third dynastic marriage in the state of Ferrara, where if she is to survive she must fast produce an heir for the rival Este family. Cesare holds his sister dear, but striving always for conquest rather than conciliation, he pays little mind to her precarious position. As the Borgia enemies gather, in Rome, the pope grows older and ever more cantankerous.

Drawing us in with her dynamic prose and intimate knowledge of one of the most fascinating periods in Italian history, Sarah Dunant dramatises the rise of one of history's most fascinating characters, Niccolo Machiavelli, during the formative years of his life. In The Name Of The Family breathes new life into the daring and corruption of a family that history will never forget. This is a moment from which no one will emerges unscathed.

Review by Ilse Scheepers

Dunant has once again returned to historical fiction to tell the tale of one of the most infamous families in history. The Borgias, so powerful in their day, have long been remembered as a family steeped in vice, lust and blood. Dunant brings us a more intimate tale about the notorious family, although a no less bloody one.

Cesare, Lucrezia and their father Pope Alexander IV are consolidating their power across Italy. Watching their reign of infamy from afar is a young Florentine by the name of Machiavelli. It is this inclusion that makes Dunant's tale really take off - the sumptuousness of her prose surrounding Lucrezia is artfully offset by the cool thoughtfulness of Machiavelli.

This is a thrilling novel of family, power and corruption from the acclaimed and bestselling novelist of Italian Renaissance fiction, Sarah Dunant. A highly recommended read.

About the Author

Sarah Dunant is the author of six crime novels for which she won two Silver Daggers. Cultural commentator - for many years she presented The Late Show - she was editor of War of the Words (Virago 1994). Her two previous novels, Transgressions and Mapping the Edge, were the subject of major acclaim.


Renaissance novel


This is the fifth novel I have read from the series and it is equally interesting. I only wish that the gap in the years 1503-1513 was filled in with more details about Machiavelli's life.



In The Name Of The Family

4.0 1


Sarah Dunant's sparkling novel, In the Name of the Family, is girded by a keen political intelligence and a stunning feel for Italy in the years around 1500 -- Lauro Martines, Emeritus Professor off European history at University of California and one of world's foremost authorities on the Italian Renaissance
A thrilling period vividly brought to life * Woman & Home *
Reading In the Name of the Family, I began to smell the scent of oranges and wood smoke on the Ferrara breeze. Such Renaissance-rich details fill out the humanity of the Borgias, rendering them into the kind of relatable figures whom we would hope to discover behind the cold brilliance of The Prince * National Public Radio, USA *
In the end, what's a historical novelist's obligation to the dead? Accuracy? Empathy? Justice? Or is it only to make them live again? Dunant pays these debts with a passion * Washington Post *
As vivid a recreation of the Renaissance past as its predecessor * Sunday Times *
"Which one of us will go down in history?" asks Cesare of Machiavelli. There are many words written about both men in fiction and non-fiction. However Dunant has a storyteller's instincts for the telling detail and the broad sweep of history. This, and her glorious prose make Dunant's version irresistible -- Antonia Senior * The Times *
An intimate knowledge of Renaissance history powers a story crackling with energy -- Elizabeth Buchan * Daily Mail *

What distinguishes and elevates to the first order Sarah Dunant's series of five novels set in Renaissance Italy is that she combines flawless historical scholarship with beguiling storytelling . . . Dunant is sensitive to
contemporary echoes and so offers into the bargain a lesson from history for our divided age

* Observer *
Dunant has made completely her own the story of Italy's most infamous ruling family. Retaining the knack for plotting and pacing from the crime novels that began her career, she depicts history in a way that we can see, hear and smell . . . Dunant's Italian novels are an enthralling education -- Mark Lawson * Guardian *
For the last 14 years, her historical fiction has been coming close to doing for Renaissance Italy what Hilary Mantel has done for Tudor England. So deeply does she burrow into the past that her readers are able to imagine it almost as clearly as if it were the present, reinvesting it with that knifeedge uncertainty with which we ourselves imagine the future . . . This is Dunant's fifth Renaissance novel, and like the rest sparkles with the kind of details that fires the imagination * Herald *
Sarah Dunant's blood-drenched tale about the Borgias is gripping . . . Dunant's poetic style raises the novel above titillating gossip, and her striking imagery renders it as rich as a Pinturicchio fresco * Scotsman *
Open it, and become utterly swept up; then, spend the next three days on Wikipedia googling Every. Single. Character. * Emerald Street *
This is Dunant's genius: her ability to piece together fragmentary, disparate sources and conjure up a compelling and convincing narrative * History Today *
It is a cracking story, stuffed with violence, danger and passion, and it will keep you pinned to your pool chair long after the sun has gone down * Daily Mail *
Dunant shrewdly explores human vice and virtue as she charts a godless society orbiting around Pope Alexander VI and his daughter Lucrezia . . . In the Name of the Family contains multiple characters and plots, all of which are thoroughly researched and slickly interwoven . . . Dunant's writing is fast-paced, lusty, illustrative and exciting * Literary Review *
Sarah Dunant's meticulously researched novel, In the Name of the Family, told us more about the papacy of Alexander VI than have countless academic texts -- Philippa Joseph * History Today *
In this follow-up to the superb Blood and Beauty, Lucrezia is sent to meet her boorish third husband, while Cesare's pox-fuelled madness deepens. A stunning tale of power and family from Sarah Dunant -- Antonia Senior * The Times *

ISBN: 9781844087648
ISBN-10: 1844087646
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 28th February 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4  x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.64
Edition Number: 1