The Black Prince of Florence
‘A spectacular, elegant, brilliant portrait of skulduggery, murder and sex in Renaissance Florence’ Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard, Books of the Year
1531 – after years of brutal war and political intrigue, the bastard son of a Medici Duke and a ‘half-negro’ maidservant rides into Florence. Within a year, he rules the city as its Prince. Backed by the Pope and his future father-in-law the Holy Roman Emperor, the nineteen-year-old Alessandro faces down bloody family rivalry and the scheming hostility of Italy’s oligarchs to reassert the Medicis’ faltering grip on the turbulent city-state. Six years later, as he awaits an adulterous liaison, he will be murdered by his cousin in another man’s bed.
‘Nothing in sixteenth-century history is more astonishing’ Hilary Mantel
More than just a forensic reconstruction of the period ... Like a detective, Fletcher interrogates her witnesses ... But it is among the detailed records of Alessandro's wardrobe-keepers that she finds her treasure ... These lend her narrative a sensuous vividity -- Frances Wilson * Sunday Telegraph * Engrossing ... bursts with stabbings, poisonings, duels, eye-gougings, arquebus shootouts and people being run through with swords. Fletcher's approach is scholarly yet dramatic, immersed in Renaissance glamour ... a tremendous step forward in our knowledge of this intriguing man -- Alex von Tunzelmann * Spectator * A seductive, shimmering and significant retelling of a man whose rise to power was ... as unlikely as it was extraordinary -- Thomas Penn * Guardian * Bold, breathless and full of suspense -- Daisy Dunn * The Times * In this brilliantly written and impeccably researched biography, Catherine Fletcher brings Renaissance Florence vividly to life. The story of Alessandro de' Medici's brief and bloody ascendancy reveals the darker side of this most dazzling and cultured of cities, beset by intrigue, violence and betrayal. A stunning book. -- Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell: The untold story of Henry VIII's most faithful servant A scintillating book that glisters and gleams with stabbings, poisonings, adultery and intrigue - and a startling reminder of how visceral and dangerous Renaissance Florence was. The drama of events is perfectly complemented by careful scholarship and lucid writing. This is everything a historical biography should be -- Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England Packed with intrigue ... Fletcher describes with cool menace the plotting and politicking that dominated Alessandro's rule ... brought splendidly to life in this excellent book -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times * Astonishing ... gripping and original ... a compelling portrait -- Matthew Lyons * Financial Times * Nothing in sixteenth century history is more astonishing to our era than the career of Alessandro de' Medici. His story, told by an exact and fluent historian, challenges our preconceptions. Catherine Fletcher's eye for the skewering detail makes the citizens of renaissance Florence live again: courtesans and cardinals, artists and assassins -- Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall A spectacular, elegant, brilliant portrait of skulduggery, murder and sex in Renaissance Florence -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Evening Standard, Books of the Year *
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