Rated Reads

Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance

by Sara Poole

Rated: Moderate

Francesca Giordano has been raised by her father, the poisoner for a powerful cardinal of the Catholic Church in 1492 Rome. When he is brutally murdered, she does some killing of her own to become the cardinal’s new poisoner, a highly unusual position for a woman of the time.

Francesca must protect the cardinal, Rodrigo Borgia, from others bent on coming to power in the Church. Borgia himself is determined to ascend in rank, planning to become the next pope. But first there is the matter of the current pope to deal with, and Francesca becomes more involved than she would like, fearing she is endangering her very soul. She also must consider that there are many dangerous men who would not only like to see Borgia and Francesca dead, but all the Jews of Rome, even all throughout Christendom.

In Poison, Sara Poole delves into the dangerous and corrupt world of the Renaissance in Rome and brings it to life. Despite her own misdeeds, Francesca is a heroine it is difficult not to root for. She is surrounded by danger and people with uncertain motives but manages to find her way through and even save some lives in the process. Poison is an entertaining book that is hard to put down.

Rated: Moderate, for one use of strong language, a few uses of milder language, and a few brief but moderately detailed sexual references.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance
  • by Sara Poole
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: