The Malice of Fortune

Michael Ennis. Doubleday, $26.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-385-53631-8
Ennis (The Duchess of Milan) brilliantly recreates the complex politics of early 16th-century Italy in this absorbing and intelligent thriller that teams Leonardo da Vinci with Niccolò Machiavelli. The assassination of Juan Borgia, an illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, leads the pope to turn to Juan’s older brother, Cesare, to further his military and territorial ambitions, which are opposed by mercenaries who fear the Borgias’ consolidation of power. Against this turbulent backdrop, the future author of The Prince seeks to apply “the principles that govern the nature of men” to solve a series of brutal murders that have left women mutilated. Da Vinci’s scientific approach to examining the corpses advances the inquiry, even as the killer’s vicious m.o. and planting of cloven footprints suggest that the devil himself is responsible. What could have come across as a contrived partnership is anything but in Ennis’s skilled hands, and he seamlessly integrates the search for the murderer with the power struggles of the day. Fans of superior historical mystery writers such as Steven Saylor and Laura Jo Rowland will be enthralled. 6-city author tour. Agent: Dan Lazar, Writers House. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/02/2012
Release date: 09/11/2012
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Hardcover - 396 pages - 978-0-7710-3075-8
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Open Ebook - 552 pages - 978-0-7710-3076-5
Paperback - 482 pages - 978-1-78089-094-4
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Hardcover - 394 pages - 978-0-09-957979-3
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