The Lion and the Rose (Borgias Series #2)

The Lion and the Rose (Borgias Series #2)

by Kate Quinn
4.5 11

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The Lion and the Rose 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
The second novel of the Borgia series crafted by Kate Quinn opens in 1494 in Rome, Italy with Giulia Farnese’s dwarf guard, Leonello, being bandaged after defending his lady from French, un-gallant officers and soldiers. Giulia promises she will stop thanking Leonello but will never forget. Giulia is the courtesan of Pope Alexander VI, Roderigo Borgia, and she is only person in the whole Borgia family who still has compassion, who still can acknowledge wrong where it is committed, who has the humility to care for and treat the servants around her with a fierce protective stance, and who has the temerity to challenge the most powerful man in the world when she deems it necessary. A formidable, sexy and wise Lady, indeed! This is the story of Juan, the Pope’s favorite brat son; Cesare, the Pope’s other son who counts power to be the ultimate satisfaction: Lucrezia, the Pope’s (could be questionable) daughter who used to be a lovely, entertaining little girl but who has developed into a vain, selfish tool of the Pope for his political wheeling and dealing in Europe; Joffre and his seductress wife Sancha; and some servants. But it is really the tale of Giuliana, Leonello, the cook Carmelina, the cook’s apprentice Bartolomeo, and the children of the Pope. It all begins with the presence of the Pope’s children who create nothing but turmoil and spilled blood when they are together; “la familia” is a disaster waiting to happen to all characters and readers, to all except the Pope. He sees no wrong in them even when they commit the most horrendous of crimes as evidenced when he issues a command at a party with horrific immediate results as a result of someone insulting his favorite son. Carmelina and Bartolomeo are two wonderful, talented cooks. Carmelina was a former nun who escaped from the convent with an important relic and so is guilty of major crimes. The fact she has found successful work is a miracle indeed. At work Bartolomeo is so very talented a cook as well that as an apprentice he is hers to boss around but also her fierce competition. Their evolution in this action-packed drama is a lusty, amorous delight for the reader to experience! Justice will be served, it is said and there is a murderer who has killed at least five young women in Rome and more elsewhere perhaps. The murderer leaves the victim in a most unholy presentation and the first woman to die in this horrific fashion was someone dear to Leonello, who is determined to find the killer. He does and oh what revenge follows! Marriages are made and undone at the whim of the Holy Father and oh what scandals and surprises come out of these manipulations. Whatever happens, one should never cross a Borgia, for reasons of one’s own life and death! The Lion and The Rose… is a terrific historical novel – far, far better plotted and crafted than the first in this Borgia novel series. Unlike other novels where the plot from the first novel would be repeated, this one takes the past action much farther to make each one seem like it is totally new and riveting as well. This reader highly recommends this novel as a stand-alone, walloping success! A MUST read!!!
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
Kate Quinn's second book in the Borgia series, The Lion and the Rose continues the story of one of the most notorious families in Roman history. The Borgias were known for their manipulations and ruthless ways and Quinn does a fantastic job of bringing them to life. Pope Alexander VI, better known as, Rodrigo Borgia holds Rome in his iron grip, as well as, his mistress Giulia. His enemies are closing in and Giulia must trust her friends Leonello and Carmelina to help her. Quinn tells a gripping tale of betrayal, power and questionable religious practices, in this second book and readers will be biting their nails as the action heats up. An outstanding addition to the series. What I liked: Giulia is Pope Alexander VI's concubine. Even though she is married, she has been traded by her husband to the Pope in order to receive his favor. She is such a interesting character. She has her own agenda throughout this book and she isn't afraid to manipulate and challenge and work people and situations to her own benefit. She isn't a shy, innocent by any means. She has the world practically at her feet, but she is still in danger, because Rodrigo is making lots of enemies. Her character growth throughout this book was amazing. I thought I liked her in the first book, but in this one she really comes into her own. Quinn does an excellent job making her easy to relate to. The secondary characters like Leonello and Carmelina are a very important part of the story as well. They provide everything from advice to help for Giulia. They also help to move the plot along, as well as, giving moments of levity and even a bit of comedy here and there. This was a scary time in the history of the Catholic church and there were some extremely evil villains to contend with. Don't get me wrong, the Borgias brought a lot of their troubles on themselves, but it was still a chaotic and all together ruthless time in history. The secondary characters really bring that to light in how they operate outside the confines of the Vatican. I thought Quinn did an excellent job with them and that they were relevant and necessary to the whole story. I loved the way that Quinn interjects her own bits of fiction into the events that been told about for centuries. She is able to take the Borgias and give them new life in the sense that her take on their story is unique and different from anything else on the market right now. I was expecting the same old details and legends and Quinn really did a great job of mixing it up and adding her own originality to it. Excellent writing, colorful characters and wonderful storytelling. What I didn't like: This is historical fiction and I realize that it tends to be a bit longer than your average romance or mystery you might pick up off the shelf. I had no problem with the fact that this book was lengthy, but I fear that some readers may not grab it because the page length is a bit daunting.  Bottom Line:  Trust me, if you are a historical fiction fan, read this book! It's excellent. And if your not, this is the kind of book you want to try first. Full of action at every turn, with striking characters and history woven into the fabric of every page. You won't be disappointed.
gaele More than 1 year ago
So – who’s obsessed with the Borgias on Showtime? The one where Jeremy Irons is the deviant Pope Alexander VI, father of one of the most notorious families in Italian history even though they are all Spanish?  I am.  And while the television show is modernized and prettied up for modern tastes, the chain of events set in motion as Rodrigo Lanzol de Borgia used his power, his family, his enemies and his papacy to amass power and riches is an interesting treat into the less ‘palatable’ history of the Catholic church.  In The Lion and the Rose, the second installment in Kate Quinn’s The Borgia Chronicles, the author brings us a story revolving around the pope’s infamous mistress Giulia Farnese.  Those familiar will recognize the name as a long-standing association with the pope, married yet traded for favors by her less than loving husband, Giulia is not all sweetness and light.  She is a keeper of secrets, with gentle and not so gentle manipulations to further her own position, and to make her indispensable to the pope.  She, unfortunately, is discovering that her indispensability also make her a liability, and could even lead to her death.   Such a twisted and tangled plot with plenty of corruption, dubious religious morality, murder, war and danger are present in nearly every situation: as the Pope is seeking to condense his power base and rule over a rather unruly Rome.  With nearly every character having at least one, if not more allegiances or grudges to fight for, the potential pitfalls to the grandiose plans for the Borgia dynasty are everywhere.   Kate Quinn manages to build characters that draw your attention and hold you in their power even as you may not appreciate their cunning and manipulation to gain their own ends.  So many twists and turns, the story is laced with actual events and retelling of legends in new ways: endlessly dramatic and gripping.  Although this is the first of this series that I have read, it stands alone comfortably, allowing the reader to approach these 4 years (1494 – 1498) as a point in time with relevant information to follow the story is provided neatly and without overwhelming the reader.  A lovely storytelling style highlights this curious mix on the fictional retelling of one of history’s most notorious and infamous dynasties in an era when war, money and the grasp for power and supremacy across the European continent were at their highest levels.   I received an eBook copy from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
THE LION AND THE ROSE by Kate Quinn is an interesting Historical Fiction set in 1494 to 1498 Rome. The continuing saga of the Borgia family. But can be read as a stand alone. The Borgia family was a ruthless family that held Rome in its grasp and the three outsiders who may just bring them down. Get caught up in the web of deceit, power, danger, religion, blood, murder, corruption and fear. Rome, where passions run wild,and secrets are everywhere. The Holy City of Rome, is under Borgia Pope Alexander VI’s clutches. His concubine, Giulia Farnese, her sharp-tongued, dwarf bodyguard, Leonello, and her cook and confidante, Carmelina play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Giulia is married but her husband traded her for the Pope’s favors. The Vatican is dangerous, powerful and corrupt to say the least. Fast paced, and danger filled from beginning to end. If you enjoy the Renaissance era, the Borgia’s(one of Rome’s most notorious family) and the many mask people wear, than you are in for a real treat with “The Lion and The Rose. Ms. Quinn is a wonderful storyteller, she brings intrigue and drama to life and to a new level in Historical Fiction. The characters are interesting as well as complex. A riveting story of the ancient world of Rome. I was amazed at all the Vatican got away with and could do in the name of religion and power. What an intriguing tale! It is hard to tell rather love even existed during this era. I am sure it did, but, don’t know that the Borgia’s understood the concept. A very dramatic and emotional story! Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: HOT REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the part where Leonello saved Carmelina from being raped by Juan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksMania More than 1 year ago
The fast pace action of the Serpent and the Pearl continues with even more intrigue. However, I found myself liking the first book more. The Lion looses some of the positive energy its prequel has.  Loved the dynamics between Carmelina and Bartholomeo, but rooted for Giulia with Rodrigo. The ending, the sudden matching of one of the couples feels a little unbelievable and incongrous. Loved it though, and at the end I felt like after watching a long soap opera that just ended. 
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