Venice, 1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plagueand the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.
But the ship also holds a secret stowaway - Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan's concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.
In despair, the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career - an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio's life is in danger too, and it will require all the skills of Annibale Cason, the city's finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. What Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio's protection - an impossible woman whose medical skills and determination are matched only by his own.
From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a triumphant return to historical Venice with Venetian Bargain.
"Beautifully written...Captivating language, intricate details, and a very dramatic story line combine to entice anyone interested in historical fiction and timeless tales." - Booklist
"Fiorato's passion for the Italian Renaissance, and Venice in particular, shines in her latest imaginative and colorful tale. The historical details, which will have you believing you are seeing the building of a church and hearing the plague victims' cries, merge with a cross-cultural love story that is touching and relevant to today's reader." - Romantic Times
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Rated of 5
couldn't get through this one
Sorry, but for me...I just couldn't get through all the details about the period. I usually like historical novels but this one is just too detailed and slow for me.
Rated of 5
Daniel H. (Oak Lawn, IL)
The clash of cultures – East versus West; the clash of religions – Christianity and early Islam; the clash of nascent philosophy of modern scientific rationalist Western medicine and traditional holistic Eastern medicine; all of this wrapped into an agonist-antagonist romance between the lead character, Feyra, and her counterpart, Dr. Annibale Cason, makes this novel a sweeping and interesting entry into Venice of the mid 1400s. I found the deus-ex-machina ending not terribly credible, but, overall, enjoyed the story.
Rated of 5
Liz D. (Northbrook, IL)
The Venetian Bargain
The Venetian Bargain combines well-researched historical facts, descriptions that awake your senses and setting that all transport the reader to 1570's Venice. Fioratto's well-developed characters draw the reader into the plot that begins with a slow pace, accelerating to some high drama and romantic moments. I enjoyed this read.
Rated of 5
Mary H. (Phoenix, AZ)
A mask of romance and intrigue.
Let's hear it for a woman as the heroine! This story centered around a very talented, intuitive and young woman named Feyra from Constantinople. Her journey is nothing short of remarkable, at times more fantastic than possible but nevertheless the story keeps you interested in the next challenge.
I especially enjoyed the historical references to the schemes utilized by the Venetian doctors who treated so many in need during the plague. Whether the character wears a mask or a veil, there is something to hide as well as something to reveal. Follow Feyra in her struggle to keep her faith while also trying to stay one step ahead of those who knew the Turks only as evil. She has so much to prove and the outcome may not be what you expect of a historical romance story.
Rated of 5
Angela L. (Gypsum, CO)
Satisfying Historical Fiction
I enjoyed reading The Venetian Bargain. The book opens a window into life in Constantinople at the peak of the Ottoman Empire and swiftly moves on to Venice, Italy, with the main story chronicling the fight again the black plague. Abundant historical detail brings the cultures and period to life very satisfyingly.
I recommend The Venetian Bargain for readers of literary fiction and those with an interest in history.
Rated of 5
Jane C. (Brighton, MI)
Great follow up to The Glassblower of Murano.
Great read. The book takes place in Venice in 1576 during the time of the plague. There is no answer to keeping safe from the plague and even though this is a love story, there are doctors trying to find answers. The history of this time is fascinating, with notes of the arts, medicine and love thrown in. The building of a great church by Palladio adds interest in that the Doge thinks the church will help glorify God and end the plague.
Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian and a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare's plays as an historical source. After University she studied art and has since worked as an illustrator, actress, and film reviewer. She also designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice and lives in London with her husband, son, and daughter. She is the author of The Glassblower of Murano (2008), The Madonna of the Almonds (2009), The Botticelli Secret (2010), The Daughter of Siena (2011), The Venetian Contract (2012), Beatrice and Benedick (2014), and The Venetian Bargain (2014).
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