The Venetian Bargain: Book summary and reviews of The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

The Venetian Bargain

by Marina Fiorato

The Venetian Bargain
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2014
    416 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

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 plague—and 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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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Reader Reviews

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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.

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.

Peggy K. (Long Beach, CA)

The Four Horsemen
The Venetian Bargain is a beautifully written love story with great depth. The main character, Feyra, is so well written and attractive that readers will find her hard to forget even after the last page.

There is such quality to the details about Venice, Constantinople and the 14th Century with the Doges and of course the Sultans and their Harems.

I enjoyed the book immensely and I don't often read love stories these days. Readers ages 15 and up who want to immerse themselves in a great love story with history attached as a bonus will find this a great read.

It is also a great book for bookclubs. The 14th Century is tied to the plague in a way no other century has ever been. That topic alone is worth many hours of discussion. One could also discuss the cultural differences between Venice and Constantinople.

Mary Lou F. (Naples, FL)

Historical Medicine
Very good book written about a period in history that started a lot of modern medical treatments. Good reading from start to finish acquiring a lot of knowledge about that period in history.

Barbara G. (Lisle, IL)

A Bargain Worth Making
This riveting tale of sixteenth century political intrigue amidst the time of plague will keep readers fascinated from beginning to end. Even if historical novels are not your usual read, there's enough going on here to interest almost everyone. The novel employs its author's exhaustive research in the areas of sixteenth century medical practice, middle eastern architecture, western European and Islamic religious beliefs, herbalism, and naval warfare. Its unlikely heroine, Feyra, a young female harem doctor, is a product of two worlds: her mother, Catholic Venetian royalty, her father a Turkish sea captain who swept her away to Constantinople. How Feyra ends up in Venice working side-by side with Annibale, a young Padua-trained doctor is the main story, but all is tied together through the clever metaphorical and organizational references to the Apocalyptic Four Horses. Intrigued? As the angel says, "Come and see."

Linda M. (Windsor, CA)

The Venetian Bargain
I thought the author Marina Fiorato told a great story against the backdrop of both 16th century Constantinople and Venice. The story told of different methods of warfare employed by the Turks against Venice and the main character's(Feyra) torn loyalties. The author set up Feyra's upbringing and background very well so as to make her actions believable. I really enjoyed the use of the actual architect Palladio and his interactions with Feyra to use some Turkish techniques to build the new cathedral. I thought the ending was a bit convenient and not terribly realistic, but all in all it was a fast moving and interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.

...17 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Marina Fiorato Author Biography

Photo: Ian Pickard

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).

Link to Marina Fiorato's Website

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