The Deadly Sisterhood

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780753828441

Price: £12.99

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The women who wielded the real power behind the throne in Renaissance Italy, from a bestselling historian.

This book is one of drama on a grand scale, a Renaissance epic, as Christendom emerged from the shadows of the calamitous 14th century. The sweeping tale involves inspired and corrupt monarchs, the finest thinkers, the most brilliant artists and the greatest beauties in Christendom.

Here are the stories of its most remarkable women, who are all joined by birth, marriage and friendship and who ruled for a time in place of their men-folk: Lucrezia Turnabuoni (Queen Mother of Florence, the power behind the Medici throne), Clarice Orsini (Roman princess, feudal wife), Beatrice d’Este (Golden Girl of the Renaissance), Caterina Sforza (Lioness of the Romagna), Isabella d’Este (the Acquisitive Marchesa), Giulia Farnese (‘la bella’, the family asset), Isabella d’Aragona (the Weeping Duchess) and Lucrezia Borgia (the Virtuous Fury). The men play a secondary role in this grand saga; whenever possible the action is seen through the eyes of our heroines.

These eight women experienced great riches, power and the warm smile of fortune, but they also knew banishment, poverty, the death of a husband or the loss of one or more of their children. As each of the chosen heroines comes to the fore in her turn, she is handed the baton by her ‘sister’, and Leonie Frieda recounts the role each woman played in the hundred-year drama that is THE DEADLY SISTERHOOD.


Full of bright, brash women, quite a lot of killing . . . and some really serious statement jewellery
Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday
This is a fresh and enlightening look at the dynastic confl icts of the fi fteeth century via the key female fi gures involved
BBC History Magazine's a very welcome contribution to Renaissance studies, as well as a thorough and well-paced read.
This group of well-born, fastidiously educated women played a crucial role in the complicated politics of Renaissance Italy, where a collection of city states and competing warlords struggled to maintain their independence from the papacy at home and the French and Spanish abroad ... a torrent of poisoned daggers, ruthless politics and sexual intrigue
Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times
[Frieda] portrays eight princesses in vibrant colours, while deftly sketching the political background . . . these princesses were capable of immense political courage
Christopher Silvester, Daily Express
Detailed, dramatic and colourful
The Lady