At the start of Sarah Dunant’s novel, In the Company of the Courtesan, it is 1527 and Rome is being sacked by Spanish and German invaders. Fiammetta Bianchini, a successful Courtesan and her business manager Bucino Teodoldo, a dwarf are forced to flee Rome for the flourishing economy of Venice.
Fiammetta and Bucino swallow their jewels and hide a locked book, the contents of which is unknown to them. After what can only be described as a few “uncomfortable days” the swallowed jewels reappear and finance the start of their new lives in Venice.
Sarah Dunant has an amazing ability to develop unlikely but likeable characters. In addition to the courtesan and dwarf there is a mysterious Turk and a blind healer. In Rome this high priced prostitute’s customers were cardinals, popes and other members of the church. In Venice she “services” merchants and members of the
The murky waters of Venice, that were even then polluted, form the backdrop to this enthralling novel. Again Sarah Dunant draws us back in time to a place that we imagine when we walk along the Venetian canals and through the Doge Palace.
Sarah Dunant is a British novelist, critic and broadcaster. The Birth of Venus was her first historical novel, In the Company of the Courtesan is her second. Sarah Dunant has written a number of other novels including two co-authored with Peter Busby. Other novels by Sarah Dunant:
• Exterminating Angels (1983) co-authored with Peter Busby
• Intensive Care (1986) co-authored with Peter Busby
• Snow Storms in a Hot Climate (1987)
• Birth Marks (1990), Fatlands (1993) and Under My Skin (1995) are mysteries featuring Private Investigator Hannah Wolfe
• Transgressions (1997)
• Mapping the Edge (1999)
• The Birth of Venus (2003)
• In the Company of the Courtesan (2006)
Venetian canals, a dwarf who is afraid of water, a mysterious Turk lurking in the darkened alleys, a courtesan who applies herbs and masks to defy the aging process and “La Draga”, a healer who comes and goes with the mist. Sarah Dunant’s, In the Company of the Courtesan, will keep you reading well past your bedtime.