It is only by examining the Borgias on every plane and against every background, and by probing their very passions, that we have been able to arrive at the truth of their lives."" This statement is much more revealing of the French--Mme. Latour is French--who never flinch at hyperbole of this kind, than the Borgias, and if you knew nothing about them before, this book, which tacks together contemporary letters, documents, reports (all from assiduous translation of original sources, particularly the ""pope's master of ceremonies""--Burchard) will not give you any complete picture or cumulative sense of this (in) famous first family of the 15th century. Sufficiently well organized to give the scaffolding-Calixtus III through whom the family entered papal history, Alexander VI the Antichrist who succeeded him via ""deceit and simony,"" his bastard, later legitimized, children Caesar and Lucretia--a partial purpose here is to ""rehabilitate"" Lucretia, more sinned against than sinning. But all of this fractional addenda, most of which reduces to amplifying detail, serves best as scholarly filigree.