Back in time and in crime with Borgias

- By Deirdre Donahue

Fascinated by power, poison and papal intrigue? Meet the Borgias! Mario Puzo, creator of The Godfather, dubbed them “the original crime family.” On April 3, viewers can judge if Showtime’s newseries The Borgias, starring Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI lives up to Puzo’s claim. Meanwhile, publishers are stocking shelves with new and re-released titles about the Renaissanc­e’s infamous crime clan.

-Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower (Sourcebook­s, $14.99). A sizzling newnovel about a young Jewish woman ensnared with love and lust by Cesare Borgia, the pope’s illegitima­te son.

-The Poisoner Mystery series by Sara Poole (St. Martin’s/ Griffin). Heroine Francesca Giordano’s job: in-house poisoner. She first appeared in 2010’s Poison and returns in

June with The Borgia Betrayal. -The Family by Mario Puzo (Harper, $14.99, Tuesday). A reissue of the 2001 historical novel Puzo was writing at the time of his death, about the pope and the illegitima­te offspring he adored. (Puzo’s companion Carol Gino finished it.)

-L-crezia Borgia by Sarah Bradford (Penguin, $16). A 2004 non-fiction account about the pope’s daughter and her achievemen­ts.

-The Borgias and Their Enemies by Christophe­r Hibbert (Mariner, $15.95). 2009 account from Brit historian.

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