Tag-lined as Leonardo Machiavelli Borgia A Fateful Collusion, this book is three stories in one, or rathermore one story advanced on from three different viewpoints. Paul Strathern follows Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli & Cesare Borgia separately, each with their own individual histories, advancing on the overlapping moments of their lives from their three different contexts.
Because the individual stories lead to the same historical moments, there is an aspect of repetition. The first time it starts to happen it appears unnecessary but as the narrative action plays out it is used to refresh the mind, to help you understand the links between the three characters. No story is true when you hear only one side.
I have had my books of Leonardo’s drawings & paintings out on the kitchen table, pouring over them looking for the relevant sections. I want to do this through Machiavelli’s works & Borgia’s adventures too. I am desperate to read more about the time period & the events & places mentioned in the book.
Leonardo is portrayed as a charismatic lover of learning, nature & experimentative history & invention; Machiavelli as a charismatic ambassador who loved his country & was deeply besotted with understanding the human psyche; & Borgia as a charismatic & educated leader who ruled by both fear & respect. Strathern’s book is a great introduction to a fascinating time period in history & three incredible characters.
I can’t recommend this book any more highly or enthusiastically. Not only am I enthralled by the history period this book covers & its three focal characters, I am also enthralled by Strathern’s wonderfully. Illuminating & encapsulating writing too. Both the book & its author have captivated me & i hope they do you too.