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Dumas's 'Celebrated Crimes' was not written for children. The novelist has spared no language -- has minced no words -- to describe the violent scenes of a violent time.In some instances facts appear distorted out of their true perspective, and in others the author makes unwarranted charges. The careful, mature reader, for whom the books are intended, will recognize, and allow for, this fact.The first volume comprises the annals of the Borgias and the Cenci. The name of the noted and notorious Florentine family has become a synonym for intrigue and violence, and yet the Borgias have not been without stanch defenders in history.Another famous Italian story is that of the Cenci. The beautiful Beatrice Cenci -- celebrated in the painting of Guido, the sixteenth century romance of Guerrazi, and the poetic tragedy of Shelley, not to mention numerous succeeding works inspired by her hapless fate -- will always remain a shadowy figure and one of infinite pathos.