Don Orsino


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By F. Marion Crawford | Introduction by Stephen Schmalhofer

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“If you make money it is a degradation.” Such is the inherited viewpoint of the princely families of Roman society as the nineteenth century enters its last decade. When Don Orsino Saracinesca, eldest son of the Prince of Sant’ Ilario, makes a break with tradition to take his chances in the world of business, he quickly realizes the fine lines between ally and adversary in commerce, between the domains of politics and finance, and between material success and moral dishonor. Supplied with the necessary capital by the villainous Ugo Del Ferice, Don Orsino soon makes a name for himself in the construction and real estate markets. Yet when his attraction to the mysterious figure of Maria Consuelo d’Aranjuez draws the attention of the dangerous Count Spicca, Orsino finds himself with a pivotal part to play in correcting deception with truth and reckoning the past with the present.

Orsino Saracinesca has learnt what many never learn at all—that there is more true devotion to be found in the world than most people will acknowledge.

A truly wise literary architect, as Stephen Schmalhofer remarks in his Introduction, F. Marion Crawford proves once again with characteristic assurance and style that “the real will outlast the false, that the stone will outlive the stucco and that the builder of today is but a builder of card-houses beside the architects who made Rome.” A tale of speculation and sacrifice, of betrayal and unrequited love, Don Orsino continues the Saracinesca story in highly rewarding fashion.


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: 394pp.

ISBN: 978-1685952211