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review 2016-07-29 00:00
The Vatican Connection: The True Story of a Billion-Dollar Conspiracy Between the Catholic Church and the Mafia
The Vatican Connection: The True Story o... The Vatican Connection: The True Story of a Billion-Dollar Conspiracy Between the Catholic Church and the Mafia - Richard Hammer description

I love Mafia books, especially true crime ones. This was the fascinating tale of Det. Joseph Coffey tireless effort to bring down the mob and the men who were laundering millions of dollars worth of phony securities. A conspiracy that stretched to D.C, Rome and the Vatican.

Even though you get a TON of names and information thrown at you (which was confusing at times) I still found this to be a really enjoyable read. It's well written and well paced.

4 Solid Stars from yours truly...

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text 2016-03-06 17:20
A mortal woman who would dare fall in love with a god.

 

In writing my latest novel, a paranormal scifi-romance, Upon This Rock, I delved into the vast treasure trove of myth, legend and various religions to find inspiration. The premise was relatively simple, a mortal woman, courted and seduced by a god in her nightly dreams, would do anything to meet her lover in person. She would journey to the ends of the Earth for her loving devotion...

 

Perhaps even the Vatican.

 

The idea of gods, angels and demons seducing mortal women is embedded in every mythology across human history. What does that say about women ... that they are such ripe targets for seduction and rape? What does that say about the predatory natures of these gods?

 

 

 

Hindu gods seduced and impregnated mortals, as did Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman gods. Zues's many lovers (mortal and otherwise) are so well known, the moons of Jupiter are named after them.

 

And what would be the result of such a union?

 

Demigods.

 

 

Demigods are some of the most famous and infamous characters of lore.

 

 

In Judeo-Christian myth, the Old Testament (Torah) has a peculiar line about The Nephilim...

 

"The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men of old, the men of renown."

 

Sounds a lot like a Demigod by Greco-Roman definitions.

 

Sadly, the Demigods had it rough. They were mostly human, imbued with special abilities from their divine parentage, but mired in the mess of humanity and forever struggling against the manipulations of gods who used them to further their selfish agendas.

 

Thousands of years have passed since the days of Nephilim and Demigods, the days when gods, angels and demons walked among us, seducing women, and birthing supernaturally gifted half-breeds. 

 

Herein lies the thread of my novel, UPON THIS ROCK.

 

 

 

 

What if the Gods sought to reenter our world, to once more seduce women and regain political and religious favor among the nations of men? Ashley Rowan is lured in by the loving, patient whispers of Mithra. He promises they can be together, if only she accepts his gifts of power and journeys to the gate, to open the way to his world. 

 

Mithra has labored for centuries to reach this moment, the chance for gods to once more walk among the men and women of Earth.

 

Its Fantasy. Scifi. Mythical and legendary, encompassing thousands of years of human history, and the dark manipulations of supernatural creatures from other worlds across the galaxy. They await us at the door, ready to barge through the gateway hidden beneath the Vatican ... UPON THIS ROCK.

Source: thenightlifeseries.blogspot.com
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review 2016-02-09 17:18
The Vatican Princess by C.W. Gortner
The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia - C.W. Gortner

Many of you may have watched the show The Borgias on TV (I forget what channel). This is not that show. While it may share some characters and events, the way their are treated is very different. Which one is more accurate? I have no idea. I don't think anyone really does. Everything the Borgias did was steeped in secrecy, which leaves much to the imagination. Perhaps this is why the world seems to be fascinated with them.

I really enjoyed C.W. Gortner's take on the life of Lucrezia Borgia. We really get to focus on how events shaped and changed her life. And those events were ones that helped make history. While we may never know the reality of what she thought and felt through these years, C.W. Gortner does an amazing job bringing her to life. Lucrezia came back to life in her pages.

The corruption, not only in the Vatican, but in all of the religious and political spheres was astounding. Everything was done for a reason, and many of the people in high positions seem to have bought there way into them with favors or money. I'm amazed that the people seemed to be as OK with it as they were portrayed to be. It seemed to be common knowledge, but everyone looked the other way.

There are some potential trigger moments in the story - but nothing is described in an overly graphic way. I found the portrayal of her family and the intrigues that she was made a pawn of to be cruel - and her ability to rise against them and try to find happiness was incredible.


*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Source: www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/02/the-vatican-princess-by-cw-gortner.html
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review 2015-11-29 18:11
The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia - C.W. Gortner

The Borgias are one of history’s most notorious families. Rodrigo Borgia, eventually the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, was the patriarch, father of several illegitimate children including sons Giovanni (Juan) and Cesare, whose sibling rivalry may have turned murderous. His daughter Lucrezia was known for her seductive but toxic beauty. The Borgias inspired their contemporary Niccolò Machiavelli's book, The Prince, and have provided ample material to creative artists ever since, to everyone from Victor Hugo to Donizetti to Showtime. They even star in a video game.

 

Many of the stories told about the Borgias were invented later as their reputations grew, but certainly not all of them. The challenge for a historical novelist is to avoid going over-the-top with wild tales that seem too fantastic to be believed while still preserving the colorful and often outrageous nature of this family. Choosing what to leave out can be as important as deciding what to keep.

 

Gortner wisely avoids giving an exhaustive catalogue of Borgia offenses. He sticks to what reveals his subjects’ temperaments, doing an admirable job of bringing humanity to these larger-than-life characters. (There is a central plot point that is not supported by the historic record, but it is at least plausible and compatible with what we do know.)

 

The story is told from Lucrezia’s perspective, making her a sympathetic and believable character in the midst of all the mayhem. This depiction probably gets fairly close to the truth. Lucrezia was no innocent, but she was also a victim of her circumstances, used as a pawn in political marriages starting at the age of 13. Surviving in that environment would have taken a fair amount of scrappiness and adaptability.

lucrezia  

This portrait of St. Catherine of Alexandrea in a fresco by Pinturicchio may be Lucrezia Borgia (Photo from paradoxplace.com).

 

Late 15th century Italy was a vibrant (and violent) place. This book captures the interactions of Italy’s power centers without getting bogged down in minutiae at the expense of the story. In Renaissance Italy, several powerful families held sway over different regions and cities. In this novel, we see how the Orsini, della Rovere, Sforza, Medici, d’Este, and other families constantly jockeyed for power, with the upstart Borgias jumping right into the fray.

passetto

View from the Castel Sant'Angelo looking towards St. Peter's Basilica. The brick structure running between them is the passetto through which Rodrigo Borgia escaped when the city was invaded by Charles VIII of France in 1494.

 

The papacy was as much a political and military power as a religious one. Rodrigo Borgia deployed his children strategically to secure his dynasty (a strange concept when acting as a non-hereditary ruler). It was an era of change in art and science, political friends and foes could be swapped as borders were re-drawn, and the Reformation waited just around the corner. The Borgias bent the rules to suit them in uncertain times, but their unscrupulous volatility had devastating consequences to everyone around them.

 

Era desso il figlio mio” from the opera Lucrezia Borgia by Gaetano Donizetti

A copy of this book for review was provided by Random House/NetGalley.

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review 2015-11-20 20:40
The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia - C.W. Gortner

I've been a fan of C.W. Gortner's work since reading "The Last Queen," and thus was delighted at the opportunity to review "The Vatican Princess."

 

In this book, Gortner tells the tale of the oft-maligned Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI. He shows us her loves and miseries, growing up (as so many women did in her time) the pawn of politics and alliances.

Gortner's Lucrezia is a pious young woman, married off for the first time at age 13 to a man most kindly described as ineffective. The machinations of the Vatican, and of Lucrezia's brother, Cesare, combine to make the marriage a constant misery until its annulment. When Lucrezia marries a second time, to someone she actually loves, matters become even more complicated.

Gortner's research is impeccable, as always, and he looks at the politics of both Rome and the Borgias' native Spain through the eye not only of an author but of a historian who knows just how much detail to add to the story to "keep it real" while remaining interesting.

Highly recommended.

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