The Malice of Fortune

The Malice of Fortune - Michael Ennis has done something amazing: using actual letters and writings of Niccolo Macchiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci and even the Borgias, he's built a brilliant murder mystery peoplede with names from the pages of history.Told in two first-person voices, "The Malice of Fortune" details Pope Alexander XI (Rodrigo Borgia)'s attempts to discover the murderer of his beloved son Juan. The first narrator, Madonna Damiata, is the dead man's mistress. As not much is known about this woman except her name, Ennis bases her education, etc., on what is known about other courtesans like Veronica Franco. Damiata is roped into pursuing the investigation by the abduction of her son by Cesare Borgia, the Duke Valentino of Macchiavelli's "The Prince."The other narrator is Macchiavelli himself. Together with Leonardo da Vinci, he helps piece together an unusual series of clues found in the hands of dismembered dead women whose remains are placed all around the city of Imola. These clues are connected via scientific means in what looks almost like criminal profiling but is based on Macchiavelli's belief that if one looks at similar men in history, one can determine what actions a given contemporary man might take.The book is fast-paced, peopled with fascinating characters, and a gripping tale all the way around. I highly recommend this book for fans of mysteries and historical fiction alike.