Sarah Dunant

In the Company of the Courtesan

In the Company of the Courtesan

About the book

The breathtaking historical novel about love, beauty, the politics of sex and the power of loyalty set in Venice, by the bestselling author of Sacred Hearts.

With their stomachs churning on the jewels they have swallowed, the courtesan Fiammetta and her companion dwarf Bucino escape the sack of Rome. It’s 1527. They head for the shimmering, decadent city of Venice. Sarah Dunant’s epic novel of sixteenth-century Renaissance Italy is a story about the sins of pleasure and the pleasures of sin, an intoxicating mix of fact and fiction, and a dazzling portait of one of the worlds greatest cities at its most potent moment in history.

An introduction from Sarah

From Florence to Venice. This, the second of my novels set in the Renaissance, grew out of Titian’s great portrait that has come to be known as “the Venus of Urbino” (a detail of which is on the cover).

The naked model was almost certainly a courtesan living in Venice at the time and it was courtesan culture that so interested me. But I think what made the novel different and such a challenge for me was its narrator: a 30-year-old male dwarf who works as the courtesan’s companion and manager.

I had never written from inside the mind of a man before, and I loved it. It also gave me the chance to look at the thriving culture of sin and desire at a time when the Catholic church was at its most corrupt.

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