Secrecy (2013): Rupert Thomson


Secrecy has been drifting on the edge of my radar for some time, as you might expect of a book set in Medicean Florence. I finally got around to reading it last week, and found it a rather unusual piece of work: it deals with both a period and a subject that don’t crop up very often in historical fiction. The Medici in this novel are not, as I’d initially expected, the glittering Laurentian Medici of the Renaissance. On the contrary, these are the Medici left over at the dwindling end of the family’s great trajectory through Italian history: a fading dynasty of Grand Dukes, weakened by inbreeding and debauchery, their ancestors’ political acumen frittered away, their virility and vitality exhausted.

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