Reviews

  • "Terrifying and fascinating ... If you thought the Renaissance was all about beautiful pictures and the ‘rediscovery’ of Classical writing, you are quite wrong … The Beauty and the Terror dismantles our assumptions about the Renaissance with the precision of a wheellock arquebus … an ambitious, multifocal book, encompassing more than 150 years [that] shine[s] a light on figures often forgotten in conventional histories"

    Mary Wellesley, Sunday Times
  • "Impressive and lucid … Fletcher’s narration excels in such colourful details … a scholarly, but vivid history that shows the impact that the machinations of the great, good and not so good had on the insignificant … a persuasive account of how Italy was brought low even as the culture floated high"

    Michael Prodger, The Times
  • "Brilliant and gripping, here is the full true Renaissance in a history of compelling originality and freshness, revealing the filth and thuggery, slavery, sex, slaughter and skulduggery behind the exquisite art of Leonardo and Michelangelo"

    SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE, author of Jerusalem and The Romanovs
  • "Leading us into the world of the high Italian Renaissance in all its rich, blood-soaked glory, Catherine Fletcher shows us how the violent energies of war gave birth to some of the greatest art ever seen. Devastating in its detail, The Beauty and the Terror is a powerful, intimate and deeply humane portrait of this age of extreme destruction and exceptional creativity"

    THOMAS PENN, author of Winter King and Brothers York
  • "A wonderfully dark, gritty, hard-edged tour behind the scenes of the Italian Renaissance. Catherine Fletcher is an expert and eloquent guide through the fire, blood and steel that inspired some of the greatest art in the world"

    JESSIE CHILDS, author of God’s Traitors
  • "Catherine Fletcher’s eye for the skewering detail makes the citizens of renaissance Florence live again"

    Hilary Mantel, on The Black Prince of Florence
  • "Astonishing … gripping and original … a compelling portrait"

    Financial Times on The Black Prince of Florence
  • "Packed with intrigue … Fletcher describes with cool menace the plotting and politicking … rought splendidly to life in this excellent book"

    Dan Jones, Sunday Times on The Black Prince of Florence