Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Post: Lucrezia Borgia: The Most Evil Woman In History... Or The Most Wronged by M. G. Scarsbrook

"1497, Renaissance Rome: As the teenage daughter of Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia Borgia is a young noblewoman immersed in all the glamor of the Vatican Palace. Yet after a brutal killing shocks the city, Lucrezia learns that a dark truth lies beneath the surface of the Papal Court: in their ruthless quest for power, her father and brother are willing to poison their enemies.

Her family are murderers.

After discovering that her new husband is next to die, Lucrezia struggles to help him escape from Rome before the assassins strike. Against a barrage of political intrigues, papal spies, and diabolical tricks, Lucrezia uses all her wits to defy her family and save her husband from assassination. But as tragedy looms ever closer, and her plans gradually fail, she finds herself confronting an enemy far more sinister than she ever imagined…"

I figure there is no better way than to keep up on Lucrezia Borgia than to feature a cool newly released novel on her. Please give a warm welcome to author M.G. Scarsbrook author of the very intriguing novel " Poison In The Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia".

 Lucrezia Borgia: The Most Evil Woman In History... Or The Most Wronged?

By M. G. Scarsbrook

Once described as the 'greatest whore there ever was in Rome', the legend of Lucrezia Borgia has long captivated people for centuries with wild accounts of her crimes. Some have called her a poisoner, an evil seductress, a femme fatale, and many artists have portrayed her negatively in books, plays, and operas.

But who was Lucrezia exactly? Did she really deserve her poor reputation?

In 1492, when Lucrezia Borgia was still a young noblewoman, her father became Pope Alexander VI and raised her family into one of the most powerful forces in Renaissance Italy. Known for his ruthless ambition, Alexander VI immediately start to eliminate all political enemies in his path, while also elevating his children to prestigious positions within the church and state.

The reign of the Borgias swiftly became the most scandalous era in papal history, marked by constant wars, assassinations, murder, unbridled extravagance, debauchery and allegations of incest. Many political rivals to the Borgias were stabbed, strangled, or poisoned, including cardinals, ambassadors, and the barons of prominent roman families. It was claimed the Borgias dispatched many of their enemies with a custom-made poison called 'Cantarella'. And Lucrezia herself was said to possess a ring with a tiny poison capsule which she used to secretly empty venom into drinks at banquets.

An interesting legend... but is it true?

Probably not. Almost no one in her own time accused Lucrezia of the plots and killings attributed to her family. Nor is there any historical evidence to suggest Lucrezia ever participated in the crimes of Cesare and Alexander. Her contemporaries in Rome merely felt her reputation was tarnished by tales of incest and promiscuity - unlikely allegations made by enemies of the Borgias.

In reality, during her tumultuous life, Lucrezia managed to repair her damaged reputation. After her father died in 1503, and Cesare was soon imprisoned, Lucrezia was no longer used as a pawn to increase the power of the House of Borgia. Instead, she left Rome and married a Duke in the distant lands of Ferrara, quickly settling into her new role as a Duchess. Over time, she reinvented herself as a generous patron of the arts, a loving mother of seven children, and a kind benefactor of many charities. By her death in 1519, many people mourned her loss and she was buried with great honor in the highest church in Ferrara, the disgraceful allegations from her past now long forgotten.

This is the story I explore in my latest novel, Poison In The Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia. Set in Renaissance Rome, during the height of Borgia power, my novel follows Lucrezia's struggle to escape her dangerous family before they destroy her life forever. After discovering that her new husband is next to die, Lucrezia must help him flee the city before the assassins strike. But as tragedy looms ever closer, and her plans gradually, fail, she finds herself confronting an enemy far more sinister than she ever imagined...

Thanks for taking the time to read this today! To learn more about my novels or me, please visit:

Thank you M.G. Scarsbrook for a most interesting post on Lucrezia. I am like almost everyone else in the world lately and have become fascinated with Lucrezia's life and thank you for enlightening us on her today.

Poison In The Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia
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  1. I too am obsessed with Lucrezia! This book sounds wonderful. Her earlier marriages sound positively scandalous. But I feel so bad for her!

  2. Very interesting. I'm currently reading The Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower and am really enjoying it. I need to put Poison in the blood on my TBR list!

  3. Other than on the internet, I have never read anything about her, I have to change this asap! Great post, I do believe she was innocent when it comes to poisoning.

  4. Lizzy, have you read Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger? It's an oldie but a goodie and has the Borgias in it.

  5. Hi Lizzy,

    Thanks so much for posting this on your excellent site!

    And thanks to everyone for all your great comments about my book -- I really appreciate it! Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most intriguing and exciting characters in history. Here's a few more facts that many people might not know about her:

    1) She was well-educated and spoke Italian, Catalan, French, Latin, and Greek. She also loved music, poetry, and dancing.

    2) Like many noblewomen, she knew the power of maintaining a dazzling appearance - one of her capes was made from crimson satin, lined with ermine, and embroidered with 61 rubies, 55 diamonds, 5 large pearls, 412 medium-sized pearls, and 114 small pearls.

    3) Lucrezia and her family were known for their extravagant banquets. For instance, at Lucrezia's second marriage to Alfonso of Aragon, over 800 barrels of wine and 30,000 pounds of meat were consumed in just one night!

    Gives me stomach ache just thinking about it!

    - M. G. Scarsbrook

  6. Umm, the papacy has had its moments. I would still be wary of sitting next to her at dinner...

  7. Allison, Lucrezia is my new found obsession and I can not say anything yet on her since I have not really dug into her history yet. I know I will love her though.

    Laura, I have the UK print of Bower's novel, "Book of Love" I hope to get to it soon. It is a beautiful book.

    Malena, we are in the same boat then I have to move her to asap also. I have yet to come to a conclusion on her poison is a very scandalous way to handle business and it is hard to vizulize her doing it.

    Roseanne, I just went and added it to my good reads. I dig the older cover it is like Jean Plaidy style and I have a feeling i would enjoy it very much. Tank you for the reccomendation.

    M.G. oh my goodness those facts are mind blowing stats on Lucrezia. Sounds like my kind of girl good taste in clothing and makes sure everyone eats their fill of the feast. Thank you for the wonderful post on Lucrezia I enjoyed reading more on her life and hope to learn more about her in the not so distant future.

    Dave, LOL you crack me up. I must read more on her before I can decide.


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