Rating: 2 Stars
The book serves its purpose, which is to provide basic facts about the subject matter. I have read several of the "In a Nutshell" books now, and intend to read more, but this one was not up to the standard that I have come to expect from the series. The writing itself was the issue at times, while there were incidents of repetition; it was simply not as professional as I expected.
The editing is what really sunk this book for me however, as there are numerous sentences that never should have made their way into a final manuscript.
"...With reports making their way back to Rome that since his death she seemed to have aged at least three times her age" (46%).
"...There is no evidence at all that he had gotten mad at all" (65%).
"Did he hide his ravaged face behind a mask? Probably not. Did he wear a mask? Yes, but it was more likely to keep himself disguised so he wouldn't be noticed, not to hide a blotched face away" (66%).
The first two are more examples of lack of editing, but the third is such a cluster of clunky, awkward sentences that it requires more than a quick dash of the editing pen. And to be fair, I'm pretty sure my attention would definitely be drawn to a dude in a mask if I thought that Cesare Borgia was lurking around nearby.
On a positive note, it is clear that the author has done a fair amount of research on her subject. The facts themselves are not the issue, and she appears to have a deep interest in Cesare and his family, and what I read here mostly coincides with what I have read elsewhere.
This book had the potential to be a valuable resource for quick information, and in that respect the book is passable. But the editing process should have been more thorough, as those sentences had no business in a final draft. Perhaps another round of editing would make this one a better read. Until then, I can only recommend it with caution.