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Renaissance Florence 1490 1498 They say his palazzo is to be a magnificent work of art a dazzling edifice to rival the most opulent in the city Its owner is a stranger to Florence a wealthy foreigner who dresses in black silk and practices the age old secrets of alchemy But the man who calls himself Francesco Ragoczy da San Germano conceals his own dark secrets that have exiled him to a life of blood filled torment and eternal wandering Yet in the sensation craving Estasia cousin to Botticelli San Germano has found a woman whose unquenchable passions could exceed his own And in the fanatical monk Savonarola he has found a powerful enemy a dangerously obsessed ascetic who exerts a hypnotic power over the citizens of Florence Savonarola is embarked on a reign of terror that will not end until every thing of beauty is destroyed and every heretic burned at the stake As the city becomes a hotbed of religious fervor and escalating violence San Germano is faced with an impossible choice that could doom those he loves foreverand transform his own existence beyond recognition Peopled by such unforgettable real life figures as the de Medicis and Sandro Botticelli THE PALACE evokes Renaissance Italy in all its dangerous glory as it weaves a darkly erotic spell of love power obsession and seduction that will keep you in thrall until the stunning conclusion


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    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || || PinterestWhen reading Yarbro's work it's hard not to compare her with Anne Rice even though I'm sure she tires of such comparisons Both are best known for their vampire themed historical fiction and the series debuted remarkably close together with The Vampire Chronicles being published in 1976 and Saint Germain being published in 1978 Which surprised me For some reason I'd been under the impression that Yarbro's work came first and this is why you should look at original publication dates and not go by what your late 80s mass paperback tells you JSYKI've read selections from both series and I have to say that Saint Germain is the most consistently better of the two Oh Saint Germaine gets off to a rough start with HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA which has uneven pacing some uncomfortable situations and a wince inducingly perfect hero capable of garnering a perfect score on the Gary Stu litmus test but the series really gains strength as it goes on and despite being over three decades old the newer books are still good if not better than the earlier booksSaint Germain's character is based off the historical figure The Comte of St Germain which is fascinating because he apparently claimed that he was 500 years old Yarbro runs with that making Francesco Ragoczy Count St Germain a vampire who dates his origin back to the times of Ancient Rome Like his historical counterpart this Ragoczy also dabbles in the occult and alchemy and Yarbro makes good use of vampire lore he walks around in shoes filled with his native earth which protects him from the sun and allows him to cross running water he can only be killed by fire beheading or crushed spine he can create others of his kind by the sharing of blood etcEach Ragoczy novel can be read as a standalone as they jump around in the timeline and apart from sharing the same mythos don't have a linear format I've read books that took place during WWII WWI early Italian Renaissance and mid Italian Renaissance she really seems to like Renaissance Italy and the next one I have takes place in Nero's Rome This is a really appealing system because I don't have to worry about series order and I can read the books in the order I acquire them without crying over missing or skipped books Compare that to the lunacy that is Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders series where it isn't enough to read chronologically there's a wonky series order that matters if you want to have the correctly executed Pern experience No thanksTHE PALACE takes place in mid Renaissance Italy in the late 15th century A Borgia is Pope and Savonarola is stirring up Florence with his religious fervor inducing people to make bonfires of the vanities burning art sculpture and books heading religious inquisitions and helping to put a stop to the courtly grace and aesthetic beauty of Medici Florence I tell you when they burned Boticelli's paintings it hurt on a spiritual level There's a great quote in here that Ragoczy says about art Destroying artis worse than killing children because children at least can defend themselves But art art goes into the world unarmed vulnerable to every quirk of fate and it must survive only by its power to move men not to destroy it 273I wouldn't call these novels romances I wouldn't call them horror either despite the tagline a historical horror novel on my gloriously bad edition from the 70s but they often feature romance Ragoczy being a man eternal has a couple kept women he's turned over the years but they are independent and their relationships with R usually turn platonic after they become vampires as well Ragoczy can't have sex the normal way that is no peen action He does other stuff instead which is sometimes frustrating for his lovers but he insists I've read four of these books now and I'm still not 100% sure why although I suspect it's because he has a magical peen that turns people into vampires He has two lovers in this book one crazy one sane I'll let you figure out which is whichTHE PALACE was a slow read for me Yarbro has a tendency to describe everything especially food and what Ragoczy is wearing If you're a fan of historical fashion you are going to love this book because of the clothes porn alone I can only imagine how many hours of research went into this book for the author to describe the ensembles in such meticulous detail but Hollywood fashion reporters can only read this and weep in envy and awe as Yarbro fluffs these piffling details into long paragraphs with detail and flair somehow without making it seem utterly boring tooThe Saint Germain series is not really light reading because there are a lot of characters and details to follow and the history parts of the books can be dense Also Ragoczy likes writing letters and receiving letters a lot so a significant portion of the book is written in epistolary format which only adds to the challenge That said if you're willing to put in the effort of diving in and enjoy vampires and history I think you'll really appreciate this author She clearly has a passion for her work and I can honestly say that I have yet to find a vampire series that matches this one in scope25 to 3 stars