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The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici (Hardback)
  • The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici (Hardback)
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The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici (Hardback)

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£20.00
Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 21/04/2016
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"Nothing in sixteenth-century history is more astonishing than the career of Alessandro de' Medici". (Hilary Mantel). In The Black Prince of Florence, a dramatic tale of assassination, spies and betrayal, the first retelling of Alessandro's life in two-hundred years opens a window onto the opulent, cut-throat world of Renaissance Italy. The year is 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. From dazzling palaces and Tuscan villas to the treacherous backstreets of Florence and the corridors of papal power, the story of Alessandro's spectacular rise, magnificent reign and violent demise takes us deep beneath the surface of power in Renaissance Italy - a glamorous but deadly realm of spies, betrayal and vendetta, illicit sex and fabulous displays of wealth, where the colour of one's skin meant little but the strength of one's allegiances meant everything.

"an important study … of a dashing but divisive figure." - The Telegraph

"A compelling portrait of a forgotten man" - The Financial Times

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781847922694
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 618 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"A spectacular, elegant, brilliant portrait of skulduggery, murder and sex in Renaissance Florence" -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Evening Standard, Books of the Year *
"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
"Astonishing ... gripping and original ... a compelling portrait" -- Matthew Lyons * Financial Times *
"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 *
"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
"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
"Bold, breathless and full of suspense" -- Daisy Dunn * The Times *
"A seductive, shimmering and significant retelling of a man whose rise to power was ... as unlikely as it was extraordinary" -- Thomas Penn * Guardian *
"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 *
"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 *
"Fletcher is entirely at ease amid the Renaissance world and its archival resources, and her details, particularly those involving dress, feasting and ceremonial, are generously deployed in the work of recovering a neglected episode of Florentine history" -- Jonathan Keates * Literary Review *
"An original, revelatory and gripping biography. Not only a vivid evocation of the violence and glamour of sixteenth-century Florence, but also a fresh perspective on the history of race and the concept of the Renaissance man" -- Jessie Childs, author of God's Traitors
"Gripping ... Fletcher describes in detail without losing momentum" * Economist *
"A fascinating and profound examination of one of the darkest periods of Medici family history, filled with a wealth of period detail" -- Paul Strathern, author of The Medici
"An accomplished and original account of an extraordinary and much misrepresented episode in Italian history. Catherine Fletcher provides a newly sympathetic portrait of a monarch whose rule in Florence was even more unlikely than Henry VII's presence on the English throne" -- Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of A History of Christianity
"An unexpected box of delights" -- Caroline Muprhy, author of Murder of a Medici Princess
"Fletcher charts Alessandro's meteoric rise and bloody fall while bringing Renaissance Italy into sharp focus by deftly contrasting its simultaneously sublime and visceral natures, drawing us into an intriguing, believable Florence along the way" * Catholic Herald *
"Terrific ... maintains a standard that all history books should aim for" * BBC History Magazine *
"There are few periods in history as spectacular as the Italian Renaissance, and this fascinating biography of the comparatively obscure Florentine Duke Alessandro de' Medici is a positive riot of vivid incident and intrigue.'" -- Simon Shaw * Mail on Sunday *
"A creditable and enjoyable history of one of the lesser known Medici... It is a story of nepotism, intrigue, murder, lust, spying, double crossing and political and religious power grabbing... Well researched; Fletcher has a good eye for detail and discerning credible witness testimony from contemporary accounts.... lively and entertaining and accessible to the casual reader, as much as the student of the period." -- Paul Burke * Nudge *

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