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The Principessa by Christie Dickason
  

The Principessa

Historical Fiction   
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A sweeping, glorious evocation of Jacobean London and Renaissance Italy incorporating real historical figures alongside fictional creations in a dramatic tale of high politics, rivalry and conspiracy, all that a good historical novel should be.

Comparison: Philippa Gregory, Jude Morgan, Suzannah Dunn.

If you like Christie Dickason you might also like to read books by Tracy Chevalier, Philippa Gregory and Emma Donoghue.

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Synopsis

The Principessa by Christie Dickason

Robert Cecil, Secretary of State to James I, has a problem. He owes a vast and secret debt to the Prince of La Spada, who is dying and has called in the loan – and Cecil cannot pay. Even worse, he has staked as security, without royal authority, the King's Great Pearl. To Cecil's surprise, the Prince will agree to a hostage but he wants Cecil's firemaster: Francis Quoynt, the best in his dangerous business. Cecil immediately seizes the chance, for Quoynt also serves as his spy.

La Spada is a wealthy, beautiful Italian city-state – the gateway of Europe. Whoever controls the mountain passes of La Spada also controls the flow of intelligence and much of the trade from the Middle East. As his mind disintegrates into fantastic obsessions, the Prince makes his treacherous illegitimate son his heir. Which thwarts the deadly ambition of his daughter, Sofia – the Principessa.

Sofia is young, seductive, wily and recently widowed. Already a blooded player of politics, she could outdo Lucretia Borgia in the lethal game of survival. Which she must now play to save herself and her beloved state. As unpredictable as gunpowder, will she choose to seek Francis's heart, or his life? Or both?

Reviews

‘A tour de force on many levels. Primarily a love story set against the backdrop of 17th-century terrorism, this relates a tragedy that puts you on the rack in its literary quest for truth about November 5.’ Oxford Times

‘A rich mix of romance, suspense, adventure and lightly-worn knowledge. Gunpowder, treason and plot have never been so entertaining.’ Kate Saunders, The Times

‘Marries conspiracy theory to Jacobean high-jinks…a racy read…reveals the principal actors to be models of conspirators everywhere: single-minded, ideologically driven, careless of their own and others lives, believers for the wrong reasons in the efficacy of a single violent blow to change the course of history …so strangely does it resonate with our own times…sometimes one is momentarily unsure whether one is in 1605 or 2005 as one reads.’ A.C. Grayling, Financial Times

About the Author

Christie Dickason

Christie Dickason was born in the USA in the state of Indiana, but grew up in homes all over the world, including Mexico, Thailand (where she received formal dance instruction with a princess in the royal court of Bangkok), and Switzerland.

Though she has written since the age of five, she began to take it seriously when she found herself seriously ill in hospital. In the following nine months of convalescence, she wrote her first, but unacknowledged, novel, which is composting quietly somewhere in a file drawer but led to a commission for the first published novel.

Her first two novels were political thrillers centred on a strong French-Vietnamese heroine. The Dragon Riders (published in the US as Indochine) explored the explosive early days of the French-controlled drug trade in Indochina in the 1920s and the deadly shift from legitimate business to Mafia Rule. The Tears of the Tiger, her second book, involved the search for missing American POWs and the dangerous love affairs of the heroine with a Vietnamese war lord and his rival, an American undercover agent. Both books were international bestsellers.

Now settled in East Sheen, London, Christie travels in her latest novel The Firemaster’s Mistress back to 1605 to look at an unknown side of conspiracy, treason and romance. The novel is a romantic historical thriller, which explores and challenges our image of the infamous Gunpowder Plot.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2007

Author

Christie Dickason

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Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Format

Paperback

Categories


ISBN

9780007230396

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