Welcome to the Devil's House. A nest of vipers dwells within.
And a trail of blood leads to the Borgia Palace ...
When Pope Alexander Borgia dispatches Damiata, a beautiful courtesan, to the remote fortress city of Imola in Northern Italy to learn the truth behind the murder of his beloved son, she knows she cannot fail, for the Pope holds her own son hostage.
And so she enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolo Machiavelli, and an eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci.Together they begin to decipher the killer's taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking "science of observation" and Machiavelli with his new "science of men."
Traveling across a land torn apart by war, Damiata and Machiavelli enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its centre a new face of evil and a terrible secret - a secret that still lies buried between the lines of Machiavelli's greatest work,The Prince.
Glorious and gritty ... A great achievement. Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club.
Ennis (The Duchess of Milan) brilliantly recreates the complex politics of early 16th-century Italy in this absorbing and intelligent thriller that teams Leonardo da Vinci with Niccolo Machiavelli. The assassination of Juan Borgia, an illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, leads the pope to turn to Juan's older brother, Cesare, to further his military and territorial ambitions, which are opposed by mercenaries who fear the Borgias' consolidation of power. Against this turbulent backdrop, the future author of The Prince seeks to apply "the principles that govern the nature of men" to solve a series of brutal murders that have left women mutilated. Da Vinci's scientific approach to examining the corpses advances the inquiry, even as the killer's vicious m.o. and planting of cloven footprints suggest that the devil himself is responsible. What could have come across as a contrived partnership is anything but in Ennis's skilled hands, and he seamlessly integrates the search for the murderer with the power struggles of the day. Fans of superior historical mystery writers such as Steven Saylor and Laura Jo Rowland will be enthralled. 6-city author tour. Agent: Dan Lazar, Writers House. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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September 10, 2012
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