The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: C. W. Gortner

Narrated By: Julia Whelan

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: February 2016

Duration: 16 hours 3 minutes


For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, bestselling author C. W. Gortner effortlessly weaves history and drama in this captivating novel about one of the world’s most notorious families. Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy, and Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, a new era has dawned in Rome. Benefitting from their father’s elevation are the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—each of whom assumes an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, the threat of a French invasion forces him to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice. What results is a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

Praise for The Vatican Princess

“In a literary exploration riven with Shakespearean quantities of murder, lies, deceptions, and treachery, Gortner’s narrative gains veracity with his atmospheric exploration of fashion, architecture, and art on the stage of ‘loud, filthy, and dangerous’ Rome. Gortner has imagined Lucrezia Borgia’s life from a feminist perspective.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[Gortner] has invested his novel with impressive historical detail that is woven neatly into the threads of the story, and his afterword and references offer excellent insight.”—Historical Novels Review

“Assiduously researched and expertly crafted, this novel takes readers inside the treacherous world of the Borgias—one of history’s most dysfunctional ruling families—and brings to life the sympathetic and freshly imagined character of their leading lady, Lucrezia. This unholy plunge into Rome’s darkest dynasty is wholly engrossing.”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Sisi: Empress on Her Own

“The world of Renaissance Italy is vividly brought to life—I’m captivated by this knowledgeable author’s take on the controversial Borgias.”—Alison Weir, New York Times bestselling author of Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen

“Impressive research, a lush background, and deft characterization of these turbulent times make for a fascinating read.”—Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I


  • Patricia K

    Before listening to this book, I knew virtually nothing about the Borgias - I only had a vague feeling that they weren't particularly nice folks! The focus is Lucrezia but since her life is so intertwined with her father, brothers, and many other famous people, I got a good picture of the Borgia family and the whirlwind that surrounded them. The story is well researched, moves along, and gives you a fascinating peek into the not so pretty machinations of the people and politics of the time and region. I not only enjoyed the book but it inspired me to do further research into the people and times - a high compliment to any author of historical fiction. *A bonus of the audiobook was listening to the proper pronunciation of the Italian names of people and places. **The cherry on top was noticing a reference to the Borgias in a recent news article and actually understanding it! I'm sure there have been references to the Borgias before (which is probably why I had that vague feeling) but having listened to this book, I took note and was so happy to have had more than a vague feeling about what it meant! :)

  • Leah Shoup

    It was definitely interesting to see Lucrezia's side of the story. Although I didn't like that the story drops off when she's still so young.

  • Brandon Helsel

    Very well read and gave a new insight on the life of a rumored slut, to show she was just a little girl. Should the disgusting and mentally ill side of such an infamous family. I do wonder though did her biological mom honestly get shoved away or did she run away from that lifestyle of poison?

Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia

by C. W. Gortner

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Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia, C.  W. Gortner