The Borgia Betrayal

Written by Sara Poole
Review by Monica E. Spence

Rome, 1493: Francesca Giordano, a young woman of dark passions and even darker talents, is the court poisoner to Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia. Her task is to protect Rodrigo, his papal throne, and the lives of the Borgia family from the threats of enemies both within and outside of Rome—including the mad monk Savonarola. Underlying these obligations is Francesca’s obsessive need to find and kill Bernando Morozzi, the priest who killed her father the previous year. She also must protect her friends, including a family of Jews, from the danger of attack.

Working through this complex story, Poole weaves her tale like a fine piece of cloth, pulling the reader into the threads of Renaissance Rome. Here the Church is enveloped in corruption and foreign monarchs vie for the control of Christopher Columbus’s newly discovered Novi Orbis, the New World.

The novel, conveniently timed with the release of the HBO series The Borgias, is Poole’s second book with this cast of characters. The first, Poison, is the prequel to this story. It is already sitting on my nightstand. I can’t wait to start it.