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The Ground is Burning

Samuel Black

The Ground is Burning is Samuel Black’s sweeping historical novel set during the great Italian wars of the early sixteenth century.

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Seduction, betrayal and murder: the true art of the renaissance.

Cesare Borgia, Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci – three of the most famous, or notorious, names in European history. In the autumn of 1502, their lives intersect in a castle in Italy’s Romagna.

In this hugely intelligent and entertaining novel, Samuel Black tells the true story of these men who, with different tools – ruthless ambition, unstoppable genius and subtle political manipulation – each follow an obsession to attain greatness and leave a lasting mark on the world. And at the centre of this court of intrigue and deception is Dorotea Caracciolo, a young noblewoman abducted by Borgia who has become his lover – and his secret agent.

Their story begins in hope and fear and ends in bloodshed, deceit and triumph. Along the way, there are battles and romances, lavish parties and furtive stranglings. And out of this maelstrom will emerge the Mona Lisa and The Prince.


Samuel Black was born in London and raised in France. The Ground is Burning is his first novel.

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