First of all, the author employs a device I usually dislike with such skill that I felt I was a witness hiding behind the curtains through most of this book. That is to say,the novel is written in the present tense giving the events a sense of immediacy and tension. Second, I have to give Dunant five stars for her melding of history and fiction. This novel gives us the larger than life period of the Italian Renaissance and focus's on the Borgia family and it's place in history. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will like this. Dunant's portrayals of everyone from Rodrigo Borgia, newly crowned pope and his family to all those whose fortunes rise or fall depending on the Borgia attempt to increase his empire and his coffers using any means necessary are engaging and well developed. In the afterword, she comments on key events, her version versus the history of the time and this enhanced the experience for me.