Sarah Dunant’s book “In the Name of the Family” is her fifth historical novel on the Borgia family.
In August of 1503 Lucrezia Borgia receives word that both her brother Cesare, (Duke Valentine) and her father Rodrigo,(Pope Alexander VI 1492 – 1503) are ill but not dead. Her father, the Pope, dies in a matter of days. Her brother Cesare will recover, but will lose all the territories in mid Italy which he has captured with the financial and power backing of his father, often by ruthless and deceptive means.
Sarah Dunant writes:
“She (Lucrezia) calls her confessor, closing the door against everyone else. ‘Father, will you hear my confession?’
Within the hour, the household is gathered in the chapel, a host of young women’s voices rising up like the choir of Corpus Domini in deepest intercession for the lives of the Pope and his son Duke Valentine.
During the night that follows, great multitudes of Swifts, so high on the wing that they are invisible to the human eye, pass over a dozen cities where by now urgent dispatches have been opened and read, and where prayers are also rising into the air; most of them are tipping the scales away from recovery, toward death and revenge.”