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If I were to write the story of my life it would shock the world', Caterina Sforza, 1463-1509.

As action packed as as a Game of Thrones novel, the complete life of one of Italy's most fearless women.

Between her birth in 1463 as the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan, and her death in 1509 as a member of the powerful Medici family, the life of Caterina Sforza crossed the firmament of Renaissance Italy like a shooting star.

She was painted by Botticelli, feted by Pope Sixtus IV, slandered by Macchiavelli and celebrated as a warrior who led her own troops fearlessly into battle. While defending her fortress city-state of Forli, she was prepared to sacrifice her children rather than surrender – yet she was eventually defeated, imprisoned and raped by a Borgia.

Caterina Sforza bore 8 children, buried 3 husbands, and wrote a recipe book that has since been through more than 100 editions. Her youngest child became, like his mother, a brilliant soldier and a national hero. But not even the determined Caterina could have planned that her son's direct descendants would include the kings of France and of England ... Or that she herself would be reborn 600 years later as the kick-ass lead character in the multimillion-selling videogame Assassin's Creed.

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