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Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance    by Sara Poole order for
by Sara Poole
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Wanda Plourde

Rome, the eternal city, is the setting for evil doings in Sara Poole's Poison. A hideous murder takes place in the summer of 1492. Francesca Giordano vows to avenge her father's death. Taught by her father, she is a poisoner in the service of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia. As a woman in these times, she first had to prove herself for the position, and that she did with great skill and cunning.

Francesca has unearthed a secret, one her father had carried to the grave. With eyes and ears everywhere in the shadows of Rome, she needs to be careful. A conspiracy is taking place, and the clock is ticking with tremendous speed. Francesca needs to figure out the secret before it's too late. Cardinal Borgia also has his own agenda, as he awaits the death of the pope he wishes to replace. He is a very intelligent and a patient man. How is he using Francesca to get to his goal?

There are few people Francesca can trust in this time of turmoil. She only has a handful she calls friends. One of them could be a spy, for evil lurks everywhere. She has taken a lover in Cesare Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia is a confidante. She slowly infiltrates the family's political intrigues. She pursues her vengeance going into the Jewish ghetto and to the heights of the Vatican. Nothing will stand in her way, even if she has to become darkest evil herself. As the plot thickens, and moves with speed, you find yourself wanting, and needing to help Francesca.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Right from the start you are caught in the web of intrigue. Kudos to Sara Poole for writing a riveting historical thriller. I will definitely be looking for more written by her.

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