book cover of A Blackened Mirror
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A Blackened Mirror

(2023)
(The first book in the Memoirs of the Borgia Sibyl series)
A novel by

 
 
1489—When Giulia Farnese came to Rome to make an arranged marriage with young noble Orsino Orsini, she dreamed of learning and power in the glittering city of the Renaissance popes. However, her mother-in-law seems frightened, and her husband refuses to consummate the marriage at the direction of the head of his family, Lord Bracciano. But Giulia herself has a secret: she sees visions in mirrors and hears the whispers of spirits, the gifts of an ancient sibyl in an age when magic is heresy punishable by death. Is this ability the reason Bracciano has trapped her in this sham of a marriage?

As she struggles to unearth answers, Giulia finds herself drawn to her mother-in-law's cousin, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia. Ruthless, sophisticated, and old enough to be Giulia's father, Rodrigo is a humanist, a collector of pagan art and heretical writings, and a loving father to his illegitimate children. He is a bright spot in Giulia's chilly life—but to Bracciano, he's a political rival to be removed. Bracciano's dark rites to summon demons may make Giulia the instrument of Rodrigo's destruction.

Dealing with demons is a mortal sin. Refusing Bracciano would be a fatal mistake. And Giulia’s growing attraction to Rodrigo might be her downfall—or the key to her salvation. To defy the demon's power and seize control of her life, Giulia will need to cross the line between innocence and dangerous knowledge. And once she's descended into that underworld, she is not coming back unchanged.


Genre: Fantasy

Praise for this book

"An addictively rich, vivid and lushly written Renaissance fantasy, with all the intrigue, scheming, blood magic, assassinations, and scandalous passion that you could hope for in a story involving the Borgias." - Stephanie Burgis

"Ancient Greek and Roman rituals lie like a palimpsest beneath the streets of a Rome resplendent in full Catholic regalia in this tale of ambition, desire, intrigue and enchantment. La Bella Farnese is a compelling heroine, and author Jo Graham casts her Renaissance spell with a deft hand." - Jacqueline Carey

"Vivid characters, especially the charming and indomitable young Giulia Farnese herself, bring to life a story of conspiracy, intrigue, and Renaissance magic -- Jo Graham's A Blackened Mirror is a wonderful adventure." - K V Johansen

"Jo Graham returns to magical history with a fresh take on some of Rome's most notorious. Witty and loving, with sharp edges in all the right places." - E K Johnston

"Once again, Graham proves herself a master of historical fantasy - this time, the Italian Renaissance, portrayed in all its glorious complexity. Giulia Farnese is the ideal protagonist, ardent, ambitious, sharp of wit and tongue, willing to risk everything." - Melissa Scott


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