After watching the Showtime series, The Borgias, I was looking forward to reading this historical novel about the Borgia family written by Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather (one of my favorites). Well, the novel does give a good overall history of the Borgias including Pope Alexander VI, and his children, Cesare, Lucrezia, Juan, and Jofre. It includes many of the atrocities of Alexander and his sons (especially Cesare); however, the writing style left me a little unenthusiastic. The style was less than passionate giving accounts of events without any real development of the characters. I know this was Puzo's last novel and it was finished by his companion, Carol Gino. Maybe that was part of the problem.
I was looking forward to this book, since I am interested in the Borgia family & Renaissance Italy, and I figured that Mario Puzo would treat it well. I have to say I was a little bit disappointed. Once I read the afterword, it seems that Puzo's wife finished this novel after his death. Perhaps that is why I kept stumbling over the phrase "And so it was..." CONSTANTLY...not too well written.
The characters are very well drawn and even minor characters in the Borgia world are fleshed out, which enhances the story. I also found the treatment of Cesare and Rodrigo (Pope Alexander) to be very forgiving, but that is what makes this novel different from most.
If you are a Puzo fan or are very interested in the Borgia clan, I would recommend this, otherwise I would pass.
The topic - the Borgia family - is great, however I just couldn't get into the writing style of this book.
I don't believe I've read anything else by Puzo (just seen the movie!), so I'm not sure if this is his usual style, or if it's because he passed away without finishing the novel. I thought the bulk of it read more like research notes than like a completed story. Events and background material were laid out in a very didactic way, almost like reading a non-fiction history text. That wouldn't be so bad - except that this book doesn't make a large effort to be historically accurate, and some of the events were not at all convincing. I like to be able to at least think, "Well, it MIGHT have happened like that." Instead, I was saying "no way did that happen," to myself.