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Cover image for Lucrezia Borgia and the mother of poisons
Lucrezia Borgia and the mother of poisons
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 2003.
Physical Description:
333 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Fleeing Rome in the wake of rumors, Lucrezia finds refuge in a loveless marriage to a duke, only to be accused of the poisoning of one of her ladies in waiting and mistress to her husband, and sets out to prove her innocence.


Call Number

On Order



"Poisoner!" The bellowed accusation strikes into silence all those in Lucrezia Borgia's audience chamber. Lucrezia has fled Rome to a loveless marriage with Alfonso, heir to the duke of Ferrara, to escape the rumors that she is utterly depraved--incestuous, a lecher, a poisoner. To her delight she is warmly welcomed in Ferrara, by the duke, by his court, by the people, indeed by everyone except her husband. And then, after only six weeks of basking in the warmth of general approval, Alfonso rushes into her apartment and accuses her of poisoning Bianca Tedaldo, one of her ladies-in-waiting and his mistress. Immediately, Lucrezia sees the nightmare of her life in Rome recurring. The whispers behind her back, the signs to ward off evil, people making out their wills when she invites them to share a meal. To deny the charge is useless. Lucrezia knows all too well the futility of claiming innocence even when the claim is clearly and plainly true. The only way for her to retrieve her reputation is to discover who committed the crime and expose the true murderer.

Author Notes

Roberta Gellis has a master's degree in medieval literature and another in bio-chemistry. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Romantic Times' Lifetime Achievement Award for Historical Fantasy and the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Accused by her husband, the heir to the duke of Ferrara, of poisoning his mistress, the notorious Lucrezia Borgia must expose the real murderer to prove her innocence. Determined to escape the false rumors that plagued her existence in her native Rome, Lucrezia carves out a new life for herself in Ferrara; however, her newfound contentment is threatened by the mysterious death of the foolish but harmless Bianca Tedaldo. Assisted by her two loyal ladies-in-waiting and her saucy chambermaid, she undertakes an investigation that leads her down a suspenseful path of personal and political intrigue. As she plays a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with an increasingly desperate killer, Lucrezia's own safety is threatened in spite--or perhaps because--of her familial connections to both Pope Alexander VI and the cunning Cesare Borgia. Gellis does a fine job of resurrecting and rehabilitating the legendary Lucrezia Borgia in this gripping historical whodunit. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2003 Booklist