It’s up: Da Vinci Detects Murder and Sex: A Mystery of Homosexual Persecution in Renaissance Italy Featuring Its Greatest Artists

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Thousands of historical murder mystery fans have enjoyed A Borgia Daughter Dies (4 of 5 stars with 150+ reviews on Amazon!), which tells the true history of the Borgia family and of Leonardo da Vinci’s early life, with Leonardo as principal detective.
Da Vinci cover FINAL 090414
Now Leonardo is back, forced by his real-life patron Niccolo Machiavelli to pursue killer(s) and re-live his arrest during the witch hunt for homosexuals conducted by Florence’s diabolical Office of the Night. My lawyer friends may be as shocked as I was by the Night Office, which methodically violated every principle enshrined in the American Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect the integrity of criminal processes. I had great fun finding an entertaining way to tell this sinister and little-known history, and illustrating it with wonderful Renaissance art.

Leonardo, preoccupied with what he was doing in real life, is assisted by my fictional protagonists, Machiavelli’s brilliant bastard daughter Nicola and her equally winsome mother Caterina. Readers will meet all the greatest artists of the era, and arguably of history. Borgia fans will learn about the Borgias’ greatest enemy, who became Pope Julius II, and find out what he did to Cesare and Lucrezia after the death of their father, the Borgia pope.

Here is a link to my first book, A Borgia Daughter Dies, where you can read (150+ average 4 out of 5 stars) reviews, the plot summary, and of course buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Borgia-Daughter-Dies-history-Machiavelli-ebook/dp/B007WONQV2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415900678&sr=1-1&keywords=a+borgia+daughter+dies

And here is a link to the new book, with a more detailed plot summary, Da Vinci Detects:http://www.amazon.com/Vinci-Detects-Persecution-Renaissance-Machiavelli-ebook/dp/B00PFAP1VS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415901092&sr=1t For now, it’s only $1.99. The paperback will follow soon.

Those of you who have my personal e-mail, send me a message if you are interested and I’ll give you a gift copy. This actually costs me $1.99, so I ask for a favor in return: do read it, and if you like it, please post a favorable review on Amazon. If you don’t, I will hope you will send me any observations that might be helpful. A wonderful thing about publishing with Amazon is that it is very easy to fix mistakes!

Was Leonardo da Vinci a gay pedophile?

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Statue of Leonardo da Vinci

Stattue of Leonardo da Vinci outside the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

To include a fun biography of Leonardo da Vinci, my principal detective, I extensively  researched his sexuality for my $2.99 e-book, A Borgia Daughter Dies.

Bottom line: he was either bisexual or heterosexual. For a quick, fun read about the period and da Vinci’s life, you can get A Borgia Daughter Dies here: Purchase at Amazon ($2.99) .  The controversy over his sexuality is so fascinating that it forms the historical backdrop for my next book, tentatively titled Da Vinci Detects, available through Amazon and maryannphilip.com sometime this summer.

A quick summary of the controversy: the historians who say da Vinci was gay universally accuse him of pedophilia of the worst sort: the only male pointed to as  his sexual partner was eleven years old when he became da Vinci’s apprentice. (Da Vinci was 38.) Continue reading

Read the History of the Borgias in a fun mystery!

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A Borgia Daughter Dies by Maryann PhilipThe saga of the Borgias and the lives of Leonardo da Vinci and the young Machiavelli form the accurate historical background of this murder mystery, set in the opulence of Renaissance Rome and Milan. Machiavelli’s illegitimate daughter and his bewitching ex-mistress will solve three murders with help from da Vinci and Lucrezia Borgia–including the murder of Lucrezia’s real-life half sister.

AVERAGES 4 out of 5 STARS ON AMAZON WITH 148 REVIEWS TO DATE! 

Purchase at Amazon ($2.99; $7.17 for the paperback )
Purchase at Smashwords (2.99)

Read the great reviews at: http://www.amazon.com/Borgia-Daughter-Dies-history-Machiavelli/product-reviews/0985088419/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

 

 

Da Vinci Detects Murder and Sex: A Mystery of Homosexual Persecution in Renaissance Italy featuring its greatest artists

Da Vinci cover FINAL 090414


COMING TO AMAZON SOON! Renaissance Florence at the zenith of its artistic splendor is the backdrop for this historically accurate sequel to A Borgia Daughter Dies. Leonardo da Vinci uncovers a serial killer while working for the infamous Niccolò Machiavelli on a secret project for the Florentine Republic. A feared figure from Leonardo’s past also seeks his help, forcing him to re-live the nightmare of his public arrest after he was anonymously accused of homosexuality as a young man. Machiavelli’s mistress Caterina and their daughter Nicola will help Leonardo while trying to protect Caterina’s father, who lives in fear of death threats thrust under his door in the night.

Are these events intertwined? Leonardo will find answers, while he strives towards his greatest artistic and scientific achievements, in company with some of the most famous artists in history.

The Second Half of Lucrezia Borgia’s Life

Este Castle, Ferrara

Lucrezia Borgia’s home for the second half of her life

Lucrezia Borgia spent the second half her life in Ferrara. After two marriages that ended in bizarre and terrible ways–as you will see if you watch the Showtime series– her last marriage to the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso I (or Alfonso II if you count how many husbands she had named Alfonso), was relatively tranquil.

In fact, her life had a fairy tale quality. She lived in this  giant brick castle, complete with a moat and dungeons underneath. (There would not normally be ice on the moat. I happened to get to Ferrara during the coldest early spring in the last thirty years. )

Near the castle, Lucrezia attended church in a pink and white striped gothic cathedral, which had  a pink and white striped bell tower that is leaning a bit, after close to a thousand years.  Here they are:http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/jojobob/jojobob1009/jojobob100900028/7826453-the-historic-piazza-trento-e-trieste-in-ferrara-emilia-romagna-italy-these-medieval-buildings-are-lo.jpg

The  cathedral where Lucrezia Borgia attended church for the second half of her life.

The cathedral where Lucrezia Borgia attended church for the second half of her life.

 

 

 

When Lucrezia tired of her castle or her pink striped cathedral, she could visit the castles and hunting Continue reading

The Borgias: What Is the Real History?

Contessa of Forli, alsoAn interesting exchange of comments on this website has me once again pondering the difficulties of deciding what is accurate history and what is fiction when writing about Italy five hundred years ago.

I feel I should clarify one thing about my earlier posts: when I refer to “fiction” in critiquing the Showtime Borgia miniseries, I am saying that the version of history the Showtime writers chose to portray is inconsistent with any historical account I have seen.  In other words, they looked at those historical accounts, then made up their own story. In many instances, their falsehoods have been easy to catch.  They got the Neapolitan succession wrong, for example, presumably deliberately.

This is not to say that  “historians” were accurate five hundred years ago, however. Italians of that era loved to vilify each other, and “Renaissance” historians gleefully reported rumor as fact. Guicciardini, a contemporary of the Borgias whose history is often cited, was one of their enemies and made many demonstrably false statements about them.  The printing press was only about 50 years old when all this happened, and may well have perpetuated as “history” rumors that in earlier times would have quickly died out. Eventually, society developed things like libel laws and journalistic/academic standards which tempered this kind of behavior.  But these things evidently did not exist in Italy during the high Renaissance.

For the most part, I can’t claim to have gone back to original documents in “A Borgia Daughter Dies,”  though I relied upon historians who did.  But did they do it every time?  It’s unlikely.

A comment on my blog asserts that Caterina Sforza did not, in fact, send the pope a gift wrapped in blankets from plague victims, a historical reference dramatically portrayed (complete with the  incineration of a papal official in his infected castello that is not in the history books ) on Showtime.  As I’m currently traveling, I  can’t look to see where this “fact” originates, but I’ll look when I get home, and amend this blog post if appropriate.  If the assertion about plague blankets came from the notes of Johann Burchard, the Borgia papal employee who is both a real historical character and  a minor figure in the Borgia miniseries, I’d be inclined to credit it–although it is often hard to tell whether Burkhard speaks from firsthand knowledge, or whether he is simply reporting rumors himself. But as one of the commentators on my blog stated, “who knows, it might be true. Caterina wasn’t exactly known for her restrained behavior.”

A Borgia Daughter Dies  reports the real history of Caterina Sforza as I understand it from credible sources.  The men of her era surely begrudged her accomplishments, which makes me believe that most of the extraordinary assertions about her are true.  (An analogy from legal doctrine  is an “admission against interest,” which says that when people admit something that is against their own interest, the admission must be true because they had no motivation to make it up.)  But am I certain that Caterina’s story is entirely accurate?  No. Colorful, fascinating, and fun, yes.  But completely true? Alas, I can’t be sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of the Borgias

The Sforza castle, Milan

The Sforza castle, Milan

How devastating that Showtime is cancelling the Borgia series, without finishing the saga!  The Showtime miniseries truly ended in the middle of things. I was so looking forward to their Leonardo da Vinci!

If you want to learn the entire saga of the Borgias and  Caterina Sforza in a fun way, Continue reading