Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.



4.6 9
by Eva Jana Siroka, Jana, Eva Siroka
Rome, 1560s. The tale of Titian�s Mary Magdalen, as never told before. In the midst of the Vatican�s struggle for power weakened by corruption not unlike the scandals of today a powerful prelate is unable to conquer his passion for the beautiful daughter of a Jewish apothecary. So begins the epic love story of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Rebecca, a love that


Rome, 1560s. The tale of Titian�s Mary Magdalen, as never told before. In the midst of the Vatican�s struggle for power weakened by corruption not unlike the scandals of today a powerful prelate is unable to conquer his passion for the beautiful daughter of a Jewish apothecary. So begins the epic love story of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Rebecca, a love that eventually costs the cardinal the papacy. Eva Jana Siroka paints a richly sensuous canvas of sixteenth-century Rome in which art, music, science, and religion come vividly alive in a story of power, passion, betrayal, and greed. Based on historical research, Maddalena invites the reader to see Michelangelo�s frescoes, hear Palestrina's music, and feel the religious fervor of Rome�s 1575 Jubilee year.

An illustrated novel that reproduces in color twenty-three stunning, original watercolors by the author, Maddalena engagingly immerses us in the heroine�s conversion to Christianity and dedication to Farnese, who is unable unwilling to spare his love from being burned at the stake during the horrifying excesses of the Inquisition.

A Renaissance art historian, Ms. Siroka has written a compelling and heartfelt novel that delves into the passions and follies of prelates and paupers alike, in the most exciting city in the world during one of its most tumultuous times.

Editorial Reviews

Alan Caruba
Those who love history will enjoy Maddalena by Eva Jana Siroka. Set in 16th century Rome, it tells the story of Maddalena who lives during the harsh days of the Catholic Inquisition. You will be introduced to Bartholomaeus Spranger, a handsome young man who is the official painter to his Eminence Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and to the Pope. He serves as the narrator. Despite the severe moral climate of the Church, the Vatican�s most powerful cardinal has an illegitimate son, a Jewish mistress, and an ongoing affair with a 16-year-old boy! The author deftly explores the cardinal�s illicit love for Maddalena and, within a few pages, you too will want to explore it with her.
Editor, Bookviews, June 2005
Historical Novels Review
Siroka does a first-rate job crystallizing the greed, betrayal, and passion of Renaisance Rome.
Jim Cox
The debut novel of author and artist Eva Jana Siroka, Maddalena is the first volume of "The Golden Tripolis" trilogy and based on an historical character as the centerpiece of this love story set in 16th century Rome. Bartholomaeus Spranger (Berti to his friends) is young, handsome, a 20-something Flemish painter, and determined to live his life to the fullest by drinking, feasting, and whoring amidst the brothels and palaces of the Eternal City. Maddalena is a converted Jewish [woman] who is the subject of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese's lust in an age of staggering corruption within the Catholic Church. These are the characters around which the novel evolves and revolves. An engaging and thoroughly entertaining read, Maddalena is enhanced with two dozen full color artworks by the author. With meticulous attention to historical detail that rises to the level of true scholarship, and with her undeniable talent for originality and storytelling, Eva Jana Siroka's Maddalena will leave her readers looking eagerly toward her next foray into fiction which will be titled Bartholomaeus, the second book of a trilogy and which will focus on the man who became the favorite erotic painter for Emperor Rudolf in the heyday of imperial Prague.
Midwest Book Review, August 2005
New York Times
Maddalena set in Renaissance Italy.
Star Ledger
Scandal and Love in the Renaissance: Story of a Jewish apothecary's beautiful daughter and her tumultuous love affair with Cardinal Alessadro Farnese.
Trenton Times
Corruption is nothing new: Maddalena follows the character of Alessandro, an unscrupulous churchman.

Product Details

Semele Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.64(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are Saying About This

Dacos Crif�
Dacos Crif�, Professor, Universit� Libre, Brussels
The invention of Maddalena is an original and audacious idea [set] in the familiar streets of Rome.
Phillip F. O'Connor
"In this evocative and beautiful novel, scholar Eva Jana Siroka evokes the sights, sounds, smells of Renaissance Italy as she explores the love of a powerful Catholic cardinal for a simple Jewish pharmacist. Within a few pages the reader is involved in a beautifully credible love story and experiences Italy of 500 years ago as if it were today."
Award-winning Author and Chair, Pulitzer Prize Jury for Fiction, 1994

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Maddalena 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hate history - really, but this book even though based on historical stuff - will knock your socks off - what a read - I got it from a friend - do the same - read it and pass the good word. Plus, the author is incredible - she was just written up in the New York Times - she also has a great website - about her life/home/garden etc. Fascinating woman!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading Maddalena. What a fascinating book! It¿s meticulously researched, with much of its historical fabric true. Even though I am not a particular fan of historical novels¯I prefer non-fiction¯its title caught my attention in the recent Habitats section of the New York Times. What an unusual way to discover a great book! From the rich, conceited Cardinal Farnese to the hunchbacked mason Beltraffio, all characters and places come alive in a fascinating fashion, most of all the converted Jewish flower woman, the heroine of Maddalena. Even if you are not crazy about historical novels, you'll love this. It's a great story that you won¿t be able to put down, even more riveting than the Da Vinci Code, because it makes you realize how much history repeats itself. And unlike in the Lost Painting, the plot remains free of excessive research baggage. Get Maddalena and enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Siroka opens up Renaissance Italy with firm and knowledgeable strokes supported with an impeccable sense of history and an adventurous flair for color, people, and events. Lust, passion, betrayal, and piety swirl together in a feast of the senses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms Siroka's research and imagination have given us a most pleasurable and educational read! She did an amazing job of combining history and an engrossing story. One can just picture Rome and Florence of that time along with some very credible intrigues. The historical details are massive, yet so readable! Her illustrations are also an extraordinary accomplishment. No wonder it took her most of a decade to complete this wonderful combination of history, art and story. I treasure my signed copy and look forward to the next volume in her trilogy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eva Siroka's mind clearly operates in multiple modes. As she writes, she also paints and sings--and prays. The basics of good literature are all present in Maddalena--a ripping good yarn, two or three strong central characters whose lives intersect momentously, a world of others who swirl in and out of view, a setting which energizes and enhances the narrative, a moral to bring to epiphany. But perhaps the book's most interesting aspect is the surreal simultaneous interplay of the several arts which it celebrates and explores. Readers will be grateful for the inclusion of two dozen of the author's own paintings and wish for a holographic edition with sound track and prayer wheel included on the CD. Buy this book and read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eva Siroka, a Renaissance scholar and temporary artist, has taken the reader to a magic place. It is the world of beautifully documented life of the 16th century Rome, made alive through imagined, yet eternally valid human emotions that rule our lives. For those of us who admire creations and events of the past, especially those of Italy's Renaissance, who do not like dry treatises on art and history, and who enjoy a good story, this book is it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maddalena reveals layers of history, uncovering what has been known only to scholars and researchers. Learn of events and personal interactions as they may have unfolded in the days of the Italian Inquisition. Fifteenth century Rome comes alive -- popes, cardinals, artists, healers, courtesans -- all combine to weave an intriguing tapestry of life at that time, along with possible reasons for the happenings we view as history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author takes you on a journey through history and at the same time tells the timeless tale of forbidden love. With her beautiful words you can get lost imagining the landscape, clothing and architecture of the time, allowing for a solid backdrop to set the mood for such a wonderful story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished Maddalena and loved it outright. I am not a historical buff, but once I saw the beautiful and intriguing illustrations I had to buy the book. I read it in one sitting and when I reached the end I was amazed how much I learned about sixteenth-century Rome without working at it. Did you know salt was once a precious commodity and that women were forbidden in the first anatomical theaters? And the characters come alive instantly: the greedy Cardinal Alessandro with his silvering beard, the dark-skinned Maddalena with her intelligent mind, the curly-haired Berti, a hopeless scoundrel, and a score of other minor characters with a great presence. As the plot took unexpected turns and kept me hooked, I read on, shocked by the corruption in the Catholic Church. Berti Spranger, the narrator of Maddalena, is a very colorful character. He should have been the main character. I can¿t wait to read more about him in the second book of the trilogy!