Much like the Tudors, the Borgias have been overdone in recent releases of historical fiction. However, The Malice of Fortune provides a new perspective by creatively using the well-known history and incorporating it into a mystery/murder plot. By using lesser known players in the Borgia game, author Michael Ennis brings a fresh twist to a popular scheme. You certainly don't have to know the Borgia family history to read and enjoy the book, but for those readers who are familiar, you'll get more than a repeat telling. I've read several Borgia books and was pleased that I knew enough to add to my base knowledge, but wasn't bored or forced to re-read loads of already much published facts about the events. I did not need pages of background, and I think the way this book is set up, no one really would. However, some key information about the 'players' is listed in the front of the book, which is a helpful reference, but I don't think it is too difficult to keep up with the historical timeline or characters. For those readers who are thinking about expanding into historical fiction, this is a good one to start with because it is more palatable than most. Without upsetting the academic critics, this novel harmonizes mystery, intrigue, murder and history without becoming dry as day old toast. It's a bit of a chunker due to the packed content, but despite the average page count, The Malice of Fortune is an attention-span friendly book especially for this genre. Ennis effectively manages to maintain a brilliant balance between intellectual fiction and entertainment, which will widen the general appeal and audience. Need a quick pitch-line to help you make up your mind? Okay, here it 'tis! A well-crafted, pre-packaged paced Three Musketeers meets The Man in the Iron Mask for the European bound traveler. A tad heavy for the beach and shorter trip, but good for a cabin getaway or longer flight.