Sant’ Ilario


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 By F. Marion Crawford | Introduction by Stephen Schmalhofer

Click here to view the Saracinesca Tetralogy in full.

Hardcover edition available from

The second act in the history of the Saracinesca, Sant’ Ilario continues the story of Giovanni Saracinesca, now known to the world as Prince of Sant’ Ilario. It is the year 1867 and the fate of Rome hangs in the balance of the battle between the nationalist Garibaldians and the Zouaves serving Pope Pius IX. When revolutionaries explode the Zouave barracks at the Palazzo Serristori, they cause a concatenation of collisions between the Saracinesca and Montevarchi families. The delicate Donna Faustina Montevarchi is the object of devotion of two men, one of whom is the Marchese di San Giacinto, a Saracinesca cousin whose ambition brooks no rival—not even the love of Sant’ Ilario and his bride. The consequences are manifold: jealous feuds, murderous intrigues, and conflicts equal in violence and tragedy.

It was Donna Faustina Montevarchi who knelt there at midnight, alone, repeating the solemn words from the mass for the dead…

The challenge for any Roman novelist, as Stephen Schmalhofer notes, is that history threatens to outshine fiction. With Sant’ Ilario (indeed, with the tetralogy in full) Crawford meets that challenge brilliantly. First published in 1887, Sant’ Ilario proves the equal of its predecessor, continuing the saga of the house of Saracinesca with an irresistible spirit.


Francis Marion Crawford (1854–1909) was an American writer of more than forty novels, outstanding among which is the Saracinesca tetraology: Saracinesca, Sant’ Ilario, Don Orsino, and Corleone. Born in Italy, Crawford converted to the Roman Catholic faith in 1880 and died on Good Friday 1909. His last words were: “I enter serenely into eternity.”

Stephen Schmalhofer is a graduate of Yale College and a partner at a venture investment firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Author of Delightful People, he writes from Connecticut where he lives with his wife and four daughters.

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Paperback: 390pp.

ISBN: 978-1685951979