Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

prince of foxes by Samuel Shellebarger

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

prince of foxes by Samuel Shellebarger

Post by Kveto from Prague » Tue June 8th, 2010, 4:00 pm

I just saw this one in the book of the month suggestions. Im wondering how i missed it before. It looks right up my alley. Italy, Borgias, written in the 1940s, etc. looks great from the info i've seen. And the main character is an Orsini (ive got an odd personal one degree of separation from the current Orsini family in Rome).

Sounds quite good. I'll look into securing a copy somewhere.

Any thoughts on this one by any who have read it/would like to read it?

User avatar
donroc
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 858
Joined: August 2008
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Contact:

Post by donroc » Tue June 8th, 2010, 4:06 pm

Read it as a teen and enjoyed it. Always remembered the eye-gouging scene. Movie with Tyrone Power as Orsini and Orson Welles as Borgia disappointing then and now in reruns.
Image

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue June 8th, 2010, 4:10 pm

Well, Keny, you'd better move fast on the used copies. When I had my book group do this last year (100% thumbs-up, from 30+ readers) I bought everybody used copies for a penny apiece. There were scads of them out there, it was a huge bestseller in its day.

I gave mine away, and when I went to get another, there wasn't one under $1. What happened?

I did a review, it's here.

I didn't find the movie so awful, given the restrictions of the day. The actress cast as Camilla was sort of wimpy and nicey-nice, not at all the fiery woman Shellabarger wrote. But they did film it on location, which considering the weight and bulkiness of those cameras, was a real effort.

I also liked that they skipped the first two chapters and cut right to the chase. In the 40s, books were expected to start by introducing the characters in-depth. Movies have changed reader's taste: now books start by jumping into the action, giving you a reason to care about the characters before you get to know them.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Tue June 8th, 2010, 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Avid Reader
Posts: 268
Joined: February 2009
Contact:

Post by Elizabeth » Tue June 8th, 2010, 5:11 pm

I wholeheartedly second the recommendation of this book. I was initially drawn to it because it's partly set in Ferrara, which is an out-of-the-way setting for historical fiction (not sure why, as it's ancient, beautiful, and fascinating). The Alfonso d'Este here is the grandfather of the Alfonso d'Este in my own story.

It's a good old-fashioned swashbuckler and a first-class story.

Another favorite of mine set in the Renaissance (dating from the seventies) is Teresa Denys' THE SILVER DEVIL.
THE RED LILY CROWN: A Novel of Medici Florence.
THE FLOWER READER.
THE SECOND DUCHESS.

www.elizabethloupas.com

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue June 8th, 2010, 6:02 pm

Your book sounds interesting, Elizabeth. PoF actually made me research what happened to Lucrezia, and to my surprise, she and Alfonso appeared to have a happily-ever-after ending. Considering the lady's early notoriety, I'm surprised it isn't a novel.

Or maybe it is, and I haven't heard of it yet.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Tue June 8th, 2010, 6:55 pm

You can count me in as an admirer of PoF. A recurring character in at least three of Shellabarger's novels that take place during this period is the Chevalier de Bayard, a french solider also known as the knight without fear and beyond reproach. It wasn't until I read PoF and Captain from Castile last year that I realized he was a recurring character.

Another good Italian Renaissance/adventure story of this ilk is Rafael Sabatini's Bellarion which takes place in early 15th century featuring the Italian condottiero, Facino Cane (roughly one century before PoF).

I generally love these stories of feuding Italian states, but haven't read too many of them.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue June 8th, 2010, 7:03 pm

Ludmilla, Shellabarger couldn't help sticking Bayard in -- he did a biography of him. I note that he also did one of Lord Chesterfield, the 18th-century British diplomat with "the manners of a dancing-master and the morals of a whore." the novel Lord Vanity is based loosely on that character.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Avid Reader
Posts: 268
Joined: February 2009
Contact:

Post by Elizabeth » Tue June 8th, 2010, 8:18 pm

[quote=""MLE""]Your book sounds interesting, Elizabeth. PoF actually made me research what happened to Lucrezia, and to my surprise, she and Alfonso appeared to have a happily-ever-after ending. Considering the lady's early notoriety, I'm surprised it isn't a novel.

Or maybe it is, and I haven't heard of it yet.[/quote]

There have been novels about Lucrezia Borgia! There are two by Jean Plaidy (MADONNA OF THE SEVEN HILLS and LIGHT ON LUCREZIA) and one by Maria Bellonci (LUCREZIA BORGIA) that are more or less autobiographical in nature. Then there's the wonderful THE BORGIA BRIDE by Jeanne Kalogridis, which centers on Sancha of Aragon but in which Lucrezia plays a major supporting role. And on the mystery side, there's Roberta Gellis' LUCREZIA BORGIA AND THE MOTHER OF POISONS, in which Lucrezia turns sleuth after marrying Alfonso I d'Este and moving to Ferrara. And these are only the ones I've read myself. I'm sure there are many more.

There's also a current biography (LUCREZIA BORGIA) by Sarah Bradford. It's excellent and so fascinating it might as well be a novel.

Enjoy!
THE RED LILY CROWN: A Novel of Medici Florence.
THE FLOWER READER.
THE SECOND DUCHESS.

www.elizabethloupas.com

User avatar
Michy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1649
Joined: May 2010
Location: California

Post by Michy » Tue June 8th, 2010, 9:29 pm

I read one of Plaidy's novels about Lucrezia (I think it was "Madonna") as a teenager. That was a very long time ago, so all I really remember is that she portrayed Lucrezia in a sympathetic light, basically a pawn of her hyper-ambitious and unscrupulous father and brothers. Which surprised me, because for some reason I was under the impression that Lucrezia was pretty sly and scheming and unscrupulous herself......

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed June 9th, 2010, 4:42 pm

Oops, I stand corrected on the 'happily ever after' comment. Looks like Lucrezia didn't change much from the standards she was raised to, once married into Ferrara. And I see there are scads of novels out on her. Guess I never really looked.

Maybe I'll add a couple to the TBR pile.

Elizabeth, you might want to change your tag line. At first glance, I thought you were writing about Robert Browning. Not being much of a fan of his era, I glanced past it, uninterested. I had no idea the novel was about Renaissance Ferrara--which DOES interest me--until I looked at it closer on this thread.
(actually, I think I do remember you mentioning that in your introduction now, but there's an object lesson on how fleeting the attention span is.)
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Wed June 9th, 2010, 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply

Return to “Tudor/Renaissance”