Florence, 1498. The long rule of the Medici is over and a new regime has emerged from the turbulence, a genuine republic of the people. But Florence is weak and threatened by a new warlord who is rampaging across central Italy—Cesare Borgia.
Niccolò Machiavelli is young and inexperienced when he becomes second secretary of the Florentine chancellery, but he is destined to become his city’s leading diplomat. As tries to counter the Borgia threat, Machiavelli is plunged into the grim realities of power politics, negotiates with kings and popes, and learns that no one can be trusted.
In the tradition of Hilary Mantel, this is the story of a skilled diplomat whose name has become a byword for treachery and double dealing.
A wonderful historical snapshot of the life of Niccolo Machiavelli. This is a book I will want to reread, because it can be a bit of a challenge if you’re rusty on your 1500’s Italian history and terminology (because it’s not just the family names and locations, it’s the station positions and titles).
It kicks off with the rise of Savonarola, and the formation of what Niccolo perceives to be a cult following. Shortly after, we see the Medici leader overthrown, and the entire region in chaos. It’s an interesting place to begin, because you see a young Niccolo who, at that time, is merely spewing random commentary about the state of things with his school friends. He never considers himself even remotely likely to take up a place in government, since that is an unpaid occupation and his family is not wealthy enough for him to go without a source of income.
Following this character through their growth and progression, as filled in with logical conclusions by the author, is an enchanting experience if you already enjoy Machiavelli. My only complaint is that I wouldn’t have minded a few footnotes. Overall, an excellent read.
Title: The Diplomat of Florence: A Novel of Machiavelli and the Borgias
Author: Anthony Wildman
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Published: October 16th 2020 by Plutus Publishing
Where: If you’d like to find out where the book is sold, please check Goodreads.