by Michael Ennis



“Intricate, rewarding… The Malice of Fortune is reminiscent of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose in that the intrigue is rich and is inextricably entwined in its world. Amid these walls of power the reader no more loses sight of the danger of the game than of the need to solve the puzzle. The novel works not just because it is a finely wrought history but because the characters are of their time while transcending it.” —Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post

“Engrossing and suspenseful… the tightly plotted story is grounded through vivid characterizations, an engrossing and building pace, and intimate and personal storytelling… a wonderful blend of genres.” —Neal Wyatt, Library Journal

“Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli join their considerable forces in this teeming historical thriller… They make an exceptional team.” —Sheryl Connelly, New York Daily News

“Ennis bring[s] multiple layers of authenticity to his epic novel. It’s a heady mix of “The Da Vinci Code,” Borgia politics and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Think of it as CSI: Italy circa 1502, with Machiavelli as a detective and psychological profiler and da Vinci as history’s first forensic pathologist.” —Christian DuChateau, CNN

“A hefty novel about the politics of 16th-century Italy [that] reads like a pulpy mystery… A thrilling whodunit—and a pretty good primer on da Vinci’s ‘science of observation’ as well as Machiavelli’s ‘science of man.’” —Melissa Maerz, Entertainment Weekly

“A novel that ranks among the best with the Italian Renaissance setting…. The narrative brims with minor details that convey authenticity and authority over the material…. Ennis brings the characters alive with impassioned dialogue.” —David Hendricks, San Antonio Express

“Ennis is an uncommonly graceful writer and a conscientious researcher… his story zips along, a pleasure.” —Charles Finch, USA Today

“Epic… This is a dense narrative, permeated by the sights, sounds and smells of Renaissance Italy, and one that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose, with which it is sure to be compared.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Absorbing and intelligent… Fans of superior historical mystery writers such as Steven Saylor and Laura Jo Rowland will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly (boxed, starred review)

“The Malice of Fortune captures the glorious and gritty details of Renaissance Italy in a propulsive story. Ennis has achieved a great accomplishment, historical fiction that places us right into the characters’ present.” —Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Technologists

This is a fascinating novel, filled with extraordinary, well-realized historical characters and a plot that is engrossing and wickedly clever… kept me turning the pages to the very end. —Douglas Preston, coauthor of The Monster of Florence

For readers who’ve been waiting all these years for the next The Name of the Rose — here it is. Michael Ennis brings a scholar’s mind and a writer’s heart to this beautifully crafted work of Renaissance intrigue… A powerful thinking man’s thriller. —Glenn Cooper, author of Library of the Dead and Book of Souls

More praise for The Malice of Fortune


by Michael Ennis

  • International Best Seller
  • Book of the Month Club selection
  • History Book Club featured selection
  • 12 foreign language editions
  • Best-seller in Italy

us hard2  Italy hard Germany hard  France hard  Sweden  Spain  US soft  TEA soft  Germany soft  France soft  romania

Top row: U.S., hardcover: Viking Penguin; Italy, hardcover: Longanesi; Germany, hardcover: Scherz. 2nd row: France, hardcover: France Loisirs; Sweden: Bonnier Alba, Spain: Emece; 3rd row: U.S. softcover: Onyx; Italy, softcover: TEA; Germany, softcover: Fischer. 4th row: France, softcover: Presses de la Cite; Romania, Editura Allfa.


“Lavishly detailed and intensely intimate… Replete with references to Fortune’s Wheel and Dante, as well as excerpts from Leonardo da Vinci’s correspondence, this complex epic chronicles the dynamics of and struggle for power in Milan during the 1490’s. Poignant and precise in its use of historical material; an engrossing saga of women and power, with characters larger than life yet distinctly, tragically human.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A meticulously researched historical novel that captures the intrigue and pageantry of 15th-century Italy… What is most likely to keep one up nights turning the pages is the scndalous conduct of the d’Este-Sforza-Aragon clan and their extensive court… Ennis presents an enormous cast of chararcters – cardinals, condotierri, aristocrats – all jockeying for power and position…. The beauty and refinement of these Renaissance men and women makes a fascinating story.”   History Book Club Review

“Duchess of Milan is an authentic, many-splendored study of the emotional underpinnings of history, specifically the relationships of women to each other. Its themes are universal and timeless: sexual passion, maternal sacrifice, family pride, the generation gap…. The author has done for fiction what Barbara Tuchman did for the facts of history: write in familiar and readable English the great episodes of our past. This is an intelligent. nourishing book about one of the richest periods of European history.”  – The Dallas Morning News.

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Top row: Milan: Corriere della Sera; History Book Club featured title; Milan: Il Giorno; Milan: L’Indipendente. Bottom row: Milano; Rome: Il Messaggero; Italy: Elle; Onyx/DAW Showcase cover (six figure mass market sale)


by Michael Ennis

  • International Best Seller
  • France Loisirs sells 200,000+

us hard image  PanByzantium Zuid Hollandsche

U.S., hardcover, Atlantic Monthly Press/Morgan Entrekin; France, hardcover, Presses de la Cite; Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, Pan Books; Netherlands, hardcover, Zuid-Hollandsche.


“A book that does what good historicals should do – elucidate a distant time through the characters of the men and women who made it…. Ennis manages to make the faces from this lost time rise from the mosaics to connive again, even while Constantinople burns.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Ennis’s first novel memorably evokes the panoply, wars, plots, wealth, poverty and curious commingling of Christianity and paganism in the 11th century Byzantine Empire…. Highly recommended for historical fiction collections.” – Library Journal