Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Serpent and the Pearl
Author: Kate Quinn
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
One powerful family holds a city, a faith, and a woman in its grasp—from the national bestselling author of Daughters of Rome and Mistress of Rome. Rome, 1492. The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous—or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web…
Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for Pope—and passionately in love with her.
Two trusted companions will follow her into the Pope's shadowy harem: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the enemies begin to circle, Giulia and her friends will need all their wits to survive in the world of the Borgias.
This is a fun historical read. The characters are all lively and entertaining and I love the the heroin of the story hooks up with a cook and a dwarf to take on the world - all the while able to maintain a bit of humor. Not that there are "humorous parts" but that Giulia is able to maintain a bit of a smile and positive attitude, even while finding out she was bought and sold to be an old lecherous man's play toy.
Leonello, while watching over Giulia, is looking to solve the viscous murder of his friend and exact revenge. Carmelina is running for her life and continues to have fear hanging over her head while at the same time working with Leonello and Giulia.
This is a novel with several subplots circling a main one and filled with historical facts and suppositions. I will say the ending is rather abrupt and you are left hanging - and while a good amount of readers may find it too abrupt of an ending - it certainly leaves the story wide open for a sequel.
Great for the pool, beach or rainy day on the couch.