1492 Rome, Italy. Pope Innocent VIII is very ill and about to sign an edict to wipe out all the Jews within all Christiandom. Francesca Girodano just proved her worth as a poisoner and agrees to serve Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia and ultimately avenge her father's death.
Francesca's mission is to create a poison that looks like the person died from natural causes. Her father was working on such poison before he was murdered. While seeking help from an apothecary in the Jewish quarter, Francesca finds out that her father might have been a converso. She also learns that the Jews are not going to let an edict wipe them out. They are ready to fight the Pope or the Grand Inquisitor.
Francesca befriends a monk that is close to the Pope in order to deliver the poison. She is betrayed and tricked by him within the Pope's castle. Luckily a local captain who works for the Captain is able to help her and the leader of the Jewish rebels to safety without suspicion. Before escaping though, they are able to plant the poisonous blood within the blood supply for the Pope. The next day the Pope is dead, but no one is sure if it was the poison or just natural causes.
Unfortunately, Francesca gave the monk she befriended a capsule with deadly poison in it before he betrayed her. No she must stop him before he uses it to poison the Cardinal or any of the other leading candidates for Pope.
Full of mystery and intrigue, Sara Poole captures the struggle between good and evil as well as the religious strife that plagued multiple countries during this time period. I read this book as part of Dewey's 24-hour Read-A-Thon. It is an easy read and did provide some page turning moments. The ending was not what I expected and I believe the author set herself up for a sequel. Even though the book takes place in 1492 - Christopher Columbus does not appear at all within the book.