The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance

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Overview

Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased.

Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea, a woman knowledgeable in reading the "triumph cards," the predecessor of modern-day Tarot. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband's murder, Caterina single-handedly holds ...

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The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance

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Overview

Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased.

Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea, a woman knowledgeable in reading the "triumph cards," the predecessor of modern-day Tarot. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband's murder, Caterina single-handedly holds off invaders who would steal her title and lands. However, Dea's reading of the cards reveals that Caterina cannot withstand a third and final invader—none other than Cesare Borgia, son of the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, who has an old score to settle with Caterina. Trapped inside the Fortress at Ravaldino as Borgia's cannons pound the walls, Dea reviews Caterina's scandalous past and struggles to understand their joint destiny, while Caterina valiantly tries to fight off Borgia's unconquerable army.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This vividly rendered historical takes readers to tempestuous Renaissance Italy, where city-states and noble families battle for supremacy over Italy and, through the papacy, the world. Caterina Sforza comes into power by marrying the illegitimate son of Pope Sixtus, and while her husband is slothful and suspicious, Caterina is clever and ambitious, allying herself with powerful men to ensure her family's success throughout tumultuous times. Always by her side is her confidante, Dea, who has a gift for reading tarot cards, and, as our narrator, relates Caterina's struggles and schemes against a lush backdrop swarming with the most powerful families of the day--the Borgias and the Medicis, though these players, unfortunately, feel mostly like window dressing. Seeing the world through Dea's eyes only makes the reader yearn more to know what Caterina, who remains too much a mystery, is thinking. There's plenty of intrigue and conspiracy in the lusty plot, but the characters don't quite sing. (July)
From the Publisher
"[A] vividly rendered historical." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312576240
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 686,409
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author


Jeanne Kalogridis is the author of numerous dark fantasy and historical novels, including The Devil's Queen, The Borgia Bride, and I, Mona Lisa.

Wanda McCaddon has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audio publishers and has earned more than twenty-five Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She has also won a coveted Audie Award, and AudioFile has named her one of recording's Golden Voices.

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Reading Group Guide

What Philippa Gregory has done for Tudor England, Jeanne Kalogridis does for Renaissance Italy. Her latest irresistible historical novel is about a countess whose passion and willfulness knew no bounds—Caterina Sforza.

Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased.

Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea, a woman knowledgeable in reading the “triumph cards,” the predecessor of modern-day tarot cards. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband’s murder, Caterina single-handedly holds off invaders who would steal her title and lands. However, Dea’s reading of the cards reveals that Caterina cannot withstand a third and final invader—none other than Cesare Borgia, son of the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, who has an old score to settle with Caterina. Trapped inside the fortress at Ravaldino as Borgia’s cannons pound the walls, Dea reviews Caterina’s scandalous past and struggles to understand their joint destiny, while Caterina valiantly tries to fight off Borgia’s unconquerable army.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Must read!

    I have read many books, this is hard to put down! I grab my NOOK whenever I have a moment. I have read mostly historical novels about England and decided to give this a try. I will be reading more by this author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2014

    Another good read

    Loved it!

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