Duchess of Milan

Duchess of Milan

5.0 2
by Michael Ennis
     
 

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Once upon a time, in fifteenth-century Italy, two women faced each other with a ruthlessness and brilliance no man has ever matched. Enter their world of splendor and depravity, of passion and wickedness... It is Italy's most dazzling and dangerous age, and as Beatrice d'Este and Isabella of Aragon match wits and feminine cunning, it is a dance to the death to decide… See more details below

Overview

Once upon a time, in fifteenth-century Italy, two women faced each other with a ruthlessness and brilliance no man has ever matched. Enter their world of splendor and depravity, of passion and wickedness... It is Italy's most dazzling and dangerous age, and as Beatrice d'Este and Isabella of Aragon match wits and feminine cunning, it is a dance to the death to decide which one of them will be crowned - Duchess of Milan

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This complex, ambitious novel of Renaissance Italy by the author by Byzantium explores volatile events of the period from 1491 to 1508, as dukes of Naples and Milan scheme viciously, the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor play politics and the runty Valois king Charles VIII claims kinship with the house of Milan in order to ``crusade'' over the Alps and install French authority. The tale's appealing protagonist is Beatrice d'Este, who cherishes the poetry of Dante and maintains a healthy awe for the goddess Fortune. Wedded at 15 to faithless, dark-haired Lodovico Sforza, 40, the cruelly powerful son of an upstart condottiere, Beatrice first loathes and then loves her callous spouse, though the development of their relationship is not convincing. Throughout, Beatrice vies with shrewish cousin Isabella of Aragon for the title of Duchess of Milan. Scenes of torture, sex and childbirth; texts of letters; descriptions of gowns, artifacts, dreams, ceremonies and hunt parties; and inserted passages of explanatory history (Leonardo da Vinci periodically reports as engineer at the court of Milan) add color and texture. The narrative sometimes sags beneath the weight of its supernumary characters and compulsive documentation, but the play of strongwilled personalities against a vivid historical background produces a satisfying tale. 60,000 first printing; $60,000 ad/promo. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Medieval Italy on the cusp of the modern world serves as the setting for Ennis's second sprawling and colorful historical novel, after Byzantium ( LJ 7/89). In the last years of dominance for the great Italian city-states, two unusual women nurture ambitions as Duchess of Milan: Isabella of Aragon, wife of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, is Duchess in name, while her cousin Beatrice d'Este is married to Lodovico Sforza, Gian Galeazzo's uncle and regent. The novel explores their machinations, offering a fascinating depiction of the power wielded by women in positions of influence at a time when it was supposedly reserved for men. Ennis has the sure touch required to sort out the web of alliances among the ruling families of Italy and to create compelling fiction from the internecine strife of city-state politics. Its vivid, passionate, and treacherous characters make Duchess of Milan absorbing reading. Highly recommended where quality historical fiction is in demand. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/92.-- Dean James, Houston Acad. of Medicine/Texas Medical Ctr. Lib.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451404282
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
09/15/1993
Pages:
576
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL ENNIS taught art history at the University of Texas, developed museum programs as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, and worked as an independent curator and consultant. He is the author of two historical novels, The Duchess of Milan and Byzantium. He has written for Esquire and Architectural Digest, and is a regular contributor to Texas Monthly. He lives in Dallas with his television producer wife, Ellen, and their daughter, Arielle.

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