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Poison : a novel of the Renaissance
Sara Poole
Adult Fiction POOLE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The pseudonymous Poole makes a promising debut with this fast-moving historical thriller. In 15th-century Italy, Francesca Giordano is the daughter of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia's poisoner-the man assigned to protect his Eminence from being poisoned, as well as create poisons and antidotes of his own. When her father is murdered, Francesca uses the knowledge she gained from him to become the new poisoner and avenge his death, but little does she know that the poison he was working on when he died was what led to his murder-and now the Cardinal wants her to continue his research. Francesca's a genuine firecracker of a heroine, and her dilemma-is it worth her soul to exact justice for her father-plays out in a riveting fashion. Vivid, suspenseful, and capped with an ending that begs a sequel, this is a great first step on the way to the historical fiction A-list. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Francesca's father served Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia as his poisoner before he was beaten to death by robbers. Francesca vows vengeance and poisons his replacement, thereby assuming the poisoner's position in the Borgia household. The cardinal aspires to be Pope, but the current Pope must die, and Francesca must decide whether to assist with his death. A glassblower, the cardinal's passionate son, and a Jewish warrior compete for Francesca's attention as she serves her patron and investigates her father's murder. She must also thwart a psychopathic priest intent on killing all the Jews in Christendom. The characters are well drawn, and the mores and machinations of powerful families are well described as Francesca seeks vengeance. Descriptions of Roman streets, the Basilica of St. Peter, and the outlandish entertainments of the nobility bring 15th-century Rome to life. Verdict Despite some awkward language, this story of a determined poisoner delivers history, intrigue, and suspense. Poole (a pen name for a New York Times best-selling author) juggles many themes, but the characters, plot, and historical setting will keep readers interested, especially fans of Renaissance-era novels.-Sally Bickley, Del Mar Coll., Corpus Christi, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Francesca Giordano
Daughter of a famous alchemist assigned to protect the Cardinal from being poisoned, as well as create poisons and antidotes; determined to avenge her father's death; becomes the Cardinal's next alchemist.

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