They were the mother of one pope and the mistress of another, a patron to Raphael and Da Vinci, and a purported murderess. They were women of the Italian Renaissance, all joined by birth, marriage, and friendship, who ruled for a time in place of their men: Lucrezia Turnabuoni, Clarice Orsini, Caterina Sforza, Isabella D'Aragona, Giulia Farnese, Lucrezia Borgia, Beatrice d'Este, and Isabella d’Este. While all experienced great riches, power, and fortune, they also suffered banishment, poverty, the death of a husband or the loss of one or more of their children.
The Deadly Sisterhood is the story of their lives, a tale rich with drama, passion, intrigue, and duplicity, full of inspired and corrupt monarchs, the finest thinkers, brilliant artists, and the greatest beauties in Christendom. Leonie Frieda breathes fresh life into the Italian Renaissance, revealing it through the eyes of these eight “sisters” whose vitality, daring, and ambition rival that of the most accomplished and successful woman today. While men held the reigns of power, in this grand saga they play a secondary role. As she brings these heroines into focus, Leonie Frieda recounts the role each played in the hundred-year drama that is The Deadly Sisterhood.
A consummate blend of impeccable research and narrative prowess, embellished with twenty-four pages of full-color ilustrations that bring this extraordinary time and place into focus, The Deadly Sisterhood is a superb work of history and politics complete with violent power struggles, cunning machinations, and corruption; love, marriage and family; art and intellect; and crime and punishment.