Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Prince of Foxes” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Prince of Foxes
Samuel Shellabarger
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Prince of Foxes

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  533 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
This is a tale that is set in Italy of the 1500`s. ...more
Hardcover, 433 pages
Published 1947 by Little, Brown and Company
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Prince of Foxes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Prince of Foxes

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,648)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 14, 2013 Jolon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Prince of Foxes is a rare book that succeeds both in creating a dramatic story with compelling characters as well as perfectly capturing the tone of the age.

The author's background as a historian shines through his work, and his love of Renaissance Italy is palpable. More interesting to me was how it contrasted with his treatment of more medieval thoughts and practices that Italy was leaving behind- so evenhanded and oblique is Shellabarger's approach that at final analysis he does not seem a
Feb 25, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old-fashioned adventure story, this book features a Marty Stu who may be implausibly gifted, but is vastly entertaining to watch. Andrea Orsini can do absolutely anything--paint, sing, duel, command a military force, seduce anyone, brawl, even negotiate politics with the Borgia Pope and his conquering son.

He starts as a cynical captain/politician with an assassin sidekick who may be even more fun to watch than he is. There are faked miracles, possibly real miracles, saints, politics, romance
May 21, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Epic is a great word to describe this piece of literature. It sort of reminded me of The Three Musketeers, only less bravado and sword play, with more mind games and politics.
Watching the development of the main character was never boring, and the plot had so many little (and sudden) twists and details that I was constantly entertained. The characters were well developed, as were their motives and corresponding actions.
I will warn that this is one of the stories that might bore some readers, so
Carla Bull
Mar 10, 2016 Carla Bull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mio Dio! What a book! My heart is so full right now, I can't stop smiling. It feels like quite some time since I've felt compelled to write a review, but I simply must talk about Prince of Foxes.

This was sublimely entertaining. From start to finish. I devoured it, page after page. My fingers have been glued to the cover. (Honestly, I nearly gave myself eye-strain over this one. It was that bad.) The pace is wonderful, the writing is just so exquiste that I had to caress the pages. And it has, as
Grant Stevens
Jun 12, 2015 Grant Stevens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are two things I like about this book: the many "YES!" moments when something great is about to happen and the wonderful language. Published in 1947, it contains tons of words that in today's literature are uncommon, making it like unto a fun read AND a language lesson.

While a good tale, I found a few moments to be on the dry side. That isn't enough to ruin the overall narrative (which is a fabulous yarn) or characters, though, and many moments, even those of immense dialogue, are told in
Feb 03, 2009 Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read! Written by the Author of "Captain From Castille" and set in Italy in 1500. A swashbuckling adventure filled with twists and turns that keep you guessing. The main character, Andrea Orsini, is a brilliant man, whom I grew to love as he transformed throughout the novel. It wasn't a book I was able to read in a day or two. It was wonderfully long - so that you really feel a sense of the people's lives. I was sad when it ended.
Nov 08, 2015 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Goodreads, you know me so well. This book appeared on my Recommendations over and over again because of "Your Interest in Historical Fiction" so I finally said OK, OK, I'll read it. Stop nagging.
Italian Renaissance. Strong, inspirational, and independent-minded heroine. Courageous and dashing hero who fights on the side of right. Sidekick who appears to be a bad guy but deep down is a good guy. What could be better?
You were right, Goodreads. I loved it.
Nov 12, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was great fun. It was written in a very different style than today's books - once I adjusted to that, I really enjoyed it. Written in 5 sections, each based on the setting, the book follows 2 years in the life of Andrea Orsini, a man pursuing fame and fortune in Renaissance Italy. Orsini is a master at plotting and serving the various princes of the squabbling cities of Italy, changing sides to his best advantage. Remember, this was the age of Machiavelli - and Andrea seems to follow h ...more
Feb 07, 2008 Marty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This reading experience is one for the ages. I found the book without a back or cover page, had NO idea what it was about, and sat down and read, enthralled. Throughout I was amazed by the writing and the story, but I kept on waiting for the disappointment. I thought that I found it at the end, but instead it was a beautiful tweak that brought everything together perfectly.
Elijah Kinch Spector
An incredible swashbuckler in which the hero has just about no use for honor, honesty, or anything of the sort. He gets by on his wits at the dawn of the renaissance, and though he can fight just fine, he detests being dragged into one.

I read a library copy years back, but finally got a copy for myself. Can't wait to read it again.
Sep 23, 2010 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prince of Foxes is an excellent historical novel set it Italy during the time of Cesare Borgia. This is even better than Shellabarger's The Captain of Castile, another great novel.
Feb 15, 2016 Ramon4 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite ‘cloak-and-sword’ book, in the spirit of Zorro and the Three Musketeers. The story is set in Renaissance Italy and concerns young and handsome Andrea Orsini, captain in the service of the evil and powerful Cesare Borgia. Borgia intends to advance on the independent cities of Italy in the spring and unite Italy under his banner. One particular city stands in his way, and because of its location, would be a difficult and expensive object to take by force of arms. Borgia assigns ...more
Evangeline O'Keefe
One of my all-time favorites.
Oct 11, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2013
I really enjoyed reading Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger. (Thanks Semicolon for the recommendation! It wasn't easy to track down, but it was so worth the search!) This historical novel was originally published in 1947. It is set circa 1500 during the Italian Renaissance. It features glimpses of four Borgias: Pope Alexander VI, Cesare, Lucrezia, and Angela--a cousin. The hero is an ambitious but not ruthless young man initially in the service of Cesare Borgia. His name is Andrea Orsini. He ...more
Jan 25, 2015 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable romance of an Italian painter who pretends to be of a higher social order falling in love with lady of a small city state at the time of the Borgias. It traces is rise, fall and romantic redemption. Clean.
I love this book.

If you love classic swashbucklers, be prepared to miss some sleep--Prince of Foxes is hard to put down.

This is historical fiction at its best, in the vein of Rafael Sabatini. Set in the time of Machiavelli's The Prince, it tells the story of a peasant who passes himself off as an aristocrat and sets about making his way in Renaissance Italy--but some complications change his plans.
A great read if you like classic historical fiction.
Joe Rodeck
Style is antiquatedly ornate and laced with Italian phrases. Unless you like 85 word sentences describing the dinner table. A neutral three stars for a tossed aside book.
Eunice Muir
Nov 30, 2014 Eunice Muir added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy historical novels and are interested in the Renaissance
Recommended to Eunice by: The Tyrone Power movie
Excellent rollicking adventure in Renaissance Italy. This book came as a double with A Captain from Castile.
Dec 24, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best books I have ever read! If you are a fan of historical adventure stories (think Hornblower, Beau Geste, Northwest Passage, Ivanhoe, to mention but a few) you will love this book. The historical detail was completely correct and compelling, but the true strength of the book is in the characters and the rollicking good story. It does not flag for an instant and is great up through the very last line, which is really saying something. The movie with Tyrone Power was very go ...more
Suzette Kunz
Mar 25, 2015 Suzette Kunz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure set in Italy.
Julie Davis
Good Story #13.


I absolutely love this author's historical fiction and this is my favorite of his books. This description doesn't do it justice but it is a beginning.
Set in Renaissance Italy, this classic of American popular fiction is the story of Andrea Orsini, a peasant boy who rises to perform delicate political, military, and romantic missions for Cesare Borgia.
Jan 18, 2013 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I remember a few years ago this book was obtainable for free. The publication date was years and years ago, the author was long dead so there shouldn't have been a copyright issue.

Now a lot of the free ebook site that used to be around have folded or have SFA content and i cant find a copy anywhere on the web. Pretty disgusted with greedy companies getting extensions on copyright which should have run out years ago. Unless it's going to fund a children's hospital, would never ever purchase such
Frederick Smeigh
Just reread the Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger, one of the best historical fiction novels I have read. It is set in the Renaissance period during the time of Cesare Borgia. Andrea Zeppo, an Italian peasant masquerades as Andrea Orsini from the highly respected Italian noble Orsini family and becomes a captain in Cesare’s army as he attempts to unify Italy and thwart the French and Holy Roman Empires attempt to manipulate Italian politics.
Rachael Smith
Jan 06, 2014 Rachael Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic read with sophisticated and complex characters. This book should appeal to anyone who enjoys the more languid, involved story telling style of the classics. I re-read this one about every year and have worn out two copies.
Jan 18, 2014 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fictional
While this book is older than I am, I found it a most enjoyable story!
It follows Andrea Orsini through old world Italy. I enjoyed the intrigue, planning and plotting. The characters are rich and realistic. It was interesting to see the ties and repeated associations between wonder who were truly allies, and who would stay or become enemies.
Well worth finding a copy and reading it!
Lisa James
For an OLD book, it was VERY interesting. Set in the era of the Borgias, it was told from the standpoint of Andrea orsini, which was actually an alias he used, his true name being Andrea Zoppo, son of a humble blacksmith, who rose to become the man who defeated Cesare Borgia & helped pave the way for a united Italy. FULL of twists & turns, it's an entertaining, if bloody at times, tale.
Helka Ermala
Entertaining enough, but Andrea Orsini is a character bit too perfect to be really interesting.
This book started me on the history of Italy, at least as fascinating as that of Germany to those interested in the development of nation-states in Europe. A good look at the Borgias, too. All Shellabarger's books are written a little too much on the surface for me, but they all illustrate the culture and era they're set in quite adequately.
Jan 22, 2015 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! The author was a genius at placing his characters in history and having it follow real events, -down to the month they happened. It has a great love story, but also twists and turns with government and relationships between different kingdoms and people. There is a lot of excitement and wit. You must read this!
Maureen Ulrich
Jun 18, 2011 Maureen Ulrich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably one of my favourite reads of all time. I read it when I was in high school - along with Shellabarger's other historical fiction epics - and I read it again several years ago, when I was able to locate a copy (via the internet) at a used book store. Shellabarger's characters are magnificent.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 54 55 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Sea-Hawk
  • The Mark of Zorro
  • The Seduction of Silence
  • Rabble in Arms
  • The Black Rose
  • The Four Feathers
  • The Dorothy Dunnett Companion
  • China Court: The Hours of a Country House
  • An Eye of the Fleet (Nathaniel Drinkwater, #1)
  • Men of Iron
  • Wrack
  • The Son of the Red Corsair
  • Drums Along the Mohawk
  • The Saracen Blade
  • The Log of a Cowboy: A Narrative of the Old Trail Days
  • The Shield of Three Lions (Alix of Wanthwaite, #1)
  • Talking to the Ground: One Family's Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo
  • The Borgias
John Esteven
Peter Loring

Samuel Shellabarger was an American educator and author of both scholarly works and best-selling historical novels. He was born in Washington, D.C., on 18 May 1888, but his parents both died while he was a baby. Samuel was therefore reared by his grandfather, Samuel Shellabarger, a noted lawyer who had served in Congress during the American Civil War and as Minister to
More about Samuel Shellabarger...

Share This Book

“Forewarned is forearmed...” 44 likes
“But, learn that although all men are for sale, they don’t sell themselves to all buyers.” 3 likes
More quotes…