The Scarlet City: A Novel of 16th Century Italy

Chicago Review Press
Free sample

Although he bears one of the most notorious names in all of Italy, Giovanni Borgia doesn't know his parentage. Hella Haasse uses the Italian Wars as a backdrop for Giovanni's agonizing quest for his identity. Set against the backdrop of the Italian wars, this novel seeks to unravel the puzzle of Giovanni Borgia's true identity. Machiavelli, Vittoria Colonna, Michelangelo, the Borgias and the Medici are some of the characters who inhabit the secretive and dangerous world of sixteenth century Rome.
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About the author

Hella S. Haasse has written 17 novels as well as poetry, plays and essays, and has received many honors and awards including the Netherlands State Award for Literature. Her books have been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Italian, Hungarian, Serbo-Croatian and Welsh.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Chicago Review Press
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Published on
Aug 1, 2005
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781613734537
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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John Lennon is famous for his song Imagine, which includes the lyrics Imagine . . . no religion. We all have the innate capacity for spirituality, and many people express their spirituality through religion, which is fine when it enhances the good within us. Yet when a religion feeds our spiritual nature with false or deceptive teachings, then this can be dangerous. Many people see religion as being responsible for much of the worlds trouble and conflict. No wonder John Lennon adopted the view about religion that he did; and he is far from alone in feeling this way. Islam is under fire from many quarters today because of the terrible acts that are committed by its more extreme adherents, and while this religion figures prominently in the story, Islam is merely an example of what can go wrong within any religion. All the major religions of the world are guilty of similar crimes, not the least of which is Christendom, where the worst wars of all human history were begun and fought. The two world wars were supported by Catholic and Protestant clergy on both sides of the conflict, who each prayed to the same God for victory. Catholic killed Catholic and Protestant killed Protestant in violation of Christs clear command not to bear arms, especially against each other. This, of course, poses an obvious question: whose side is God on? Is he really with any religion? Who on earth would God fight for if he were to support any of the worlds religions? The continuing story of The Finished Mystery comes in two parts, and among other things, it explores the tenets within worldly religion and compares them with the natural laws written within us. Ally and Dave are carefree teenagers who attend the same school on the Gold Coast of Queensland and are born into families with no strict religious affiliations. Ally is a sixteen-year-old gymnast with Olympic aspirations, and Dave is a seventeen-year-old football player who is madly in love with her. Their romance is cruelly interrupted when Dave, who has temporarily moved to Dubai with his family, is abducted by terrorists during a family trip through Saudi Arabia and is held hostage. Thus begins an initiative by Ally to secure their release and understand the justification extremists maintain for committing their cruel acts. This leads her to examine their religion to see how, in the name of Allah, they can go directly against the human conscience and ignore what is natural for us. Religion versus nature. In part one, she also ponders questions, such as, If there is a God, why does he not show himself to us? Alternatively, if we are accidents of nature, then why is there no convincing evidence of human evolution in the fossil record? All races of mankind are genetically related, proving that we have a common origin. Why must the existence of our first parents, Homo sapiens, be such a mystery? Has religion so thoroughly confused the minds of mankind for thousands of years that we have forgotten entirely who we are and where we all came from? Is Darwins theory true despite the gaping holes in its structure that cannot be bridged? Not all scientists accept Darwins explanation. Our universe and the complex life forms show evidence of design and engineering. Every design requires a designer, and every building requires a builder. This is logical. Evolutionists maintain that the universe and all life is accidentalthat it came about unaided and for no reason. It just happened. This is illogical because our experience tells us that nothing comes from nothing and every effect has a cause. Reason and logic tell us there can be only one true answer to this dilemma, and the real cause of all we see and know is the answer that Ally finds herself striving hard to locate and understand, with exciting results. Part two reveals the inner wrestlings of an al Qaeda operative who, against Islamic tradition, explores his faith and pits his violent ways against the law of love and God.
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