So, you wanna read about...the Borgias

In light of Showtime's new historical drama show, The Borgias, starting in 2011, I wanted to put together a list of historical fiction books and non-fiction books about the controversial family so that you can start getting to know them, if you are so inclined.

I ended up finding more non-fiction than fiction and out of them all I've only read one, The Borgia Bride, and I highly recommend it!

If anyone can speak to any of the titles here or if you know of a book that I left out, please let me know!

(Cesare, Lucrezia and Rodrigo)

Historical Fiction

The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis
Light on Lucrezia by Jean Plaidy
The Book of Love by Sarah Bower
Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
The Medici Seal by Theresa Breslin
The Family by Mario Puzo and Carol Gino


The Borgias and Their Enemies by Christopher Hibbert
The Crimes of the Borgias by Alexandre Dumas
The Borgias by Alexandre Dumas
Lucrezia Borgia by Maria Bellonci
The Life of Cesare Borgia by Rafael Sabatini





  1. haha cool list, Amy! Very thorough :D I have to say, I had hoped that Showtime would come out with another English royal series like "The Stuarts" or "The Hanovers" maybe... but "The Borgias" look interesting!
    Anyway, there's a nonfiction/reference book I read a few years ago by Michael Farquhar called A TREASURY OF ROYAL the "Popes" section it has some specific passages about the Borgias :D

  2. Oh man I have no idea where to start. I might just have to print this post and throw a dart at it. Thanks for the great list.

  3. Which historical fiction novel would you recommend? This question is open to all commenters too!

  4. Love this!!..emailing you shortly..

  5. I've read "Mirror, Mirror" and it is really only okay, I wouldn't really recommend it, especially because the Borgias are only being used as a way to tell the story of Snow White, not really very historical.

  6. I'll be starting from scratch on this topic, so I guess any one of these books would work. A couple of the non-fiction books look like a good place to start. Several of the fiction books are by favorite authors, so they will be definite reads.
    We don't get Showtime, so I didn't get to watch the TUDORS and will not be watching this new series.

  7. Amelia...Oh, I agree...The Stuarts would've been fun too! And thank you for telling us about Treasury of Royal Scandals...I think I even have that one and now must read it!

    Jess...haha...that's a good idea! I'm thinking of starting with the Christopher Hibbert non-fiction one. I've heard he's really good.

    Starmetal_oak...the only one I've read is The Borgia Bride and I really enjoyed it. So that's my recommendation. Anyone else?

    Ms.Lucy...look forward to it!

    Jen...I only mentioned Mirror, Mirror because they play a small role and I wanted to give everyone an eclectic mix. I enjoyed his Wicked and Son of a Witch a lot, but have heard that Mirror, Mirror wasn't the greatest!

    librarypat...I look forward to hearing your thoughts on any of these books that you decide to pick up! You can always rent the dvd's, if you are so inclined!

  8. I've read both Madonna of the Seven Hills and Light on Lucrezia. Both were enjoyable reads, although not completely accurate.

    Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger is another favorite. It's about Andrea Orsini who works for Cesare Borgia as a spy. He is charged with painting the portrait of Lucrezia and bringing it to Alphonso D'Este in hopes that her beauty will convince him to marry her. Another enjoyable read.

    Margaret Lake

  9. I love the Borgias and cannot wait for the new series. I have three books on your list but haven't started reading any of them. I'm so happy you've made such a comprehensive list and will be adding them to my wishlist!

  10. I also forgot to add that I'm currently reading a Japanese manga 'Cesare' by Souryo Fuyumi about Cesare Borgias time at the University of Pisa. Very interesting.

  11. Read Borgia Bride and started researching the history too.

    I tried to read one of these books on Lucrezia Borgia, but the whole first chapter was about the different families and states and alliances, etc. Like all background info. Now I'm Italian and all, but I was confused and bored to tears. I needed Cliff's Notes.

    So if you or someone can recommend a good one I would be grateful. I think poor Lucrezia got a bad rap.

  12. Thanks for the list! I sure hope we get The Borgias here in Canada. We don't have Showtime but the CB has been showing The Tudors, so I am hopeful.

  13. In Historical Fiction, there's also:
    Poison by Sara Poole, as well as the sequel The Borgia Betrayal both of which are excellent.
    Poison in the Blood: The Memoirs of Lucrezia Borgia by M.G. Scarsbrook

    In Non-Fiction, there's:
    At the Court of the Borgias by Johann Burchard
    The Borgias: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Dynasty by Michael Edward Mallett
    The Borgias by Ivan Cloulas


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