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Extended Audio Sample In the Company of the Courtesan: A Novel, by Sarah Dunant Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,575 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Dunant Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor’s army blew a hole in the wall of God’s eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment.
Thus begins In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant’s epic novel of life in Renaissance Italy. Escaping the sack of Rome in 1527, with their stomachs churning on the jewels they have swallowed, the courtesan Fiammetta and her dwarf companion, Bucino, head for Venice, the shimmering city born out of water to become a miracle of east-west trade: rich and rancid, pious and profitable, beautiful and squalid. 

With a mix of courage and cunning they infiltrate Venetian society. Together they make the perfect partnership: the sharp-tongued, sharp-witted dwarf, and his vibrant mistress, trained from birth to charm, entertain, and satisfy men who have the money to support her. 

Yet as their fortunes rise, this perfect partnership comes under threat, from the searing passion of a lover who wants more than his allotted nights to the attentions of an admiring Turk in search of human novelties for his sultan’s court. But Fiammetta and Bucino’s greatest challenge comes from a young crippled woman, a blind healer who insinuates herself into their lives and hearts with devastating consequences for them all.

A story of desire and deception, sin and religion, loyalty and friendship, In the Company of the Courtesanpaints a portrait of one of the world’s greatest cities at its most potent moment in history: It is a picture that remains vivid long after the final page.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mary Leyendecker | 2/11/2014

    " I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel about the fall of Rome. There characters are quite unusual, and the story has some unique twists. The history was also very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lauren | 2/8/2014

    " A great historical fiction novel from a period that is not frequently written about, the Sack of Rome and Italy in the 16th century. About a well-paid courtesan from the point of view of her dwarf servant, this novel is a page-turner and a fun read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jules | 1/16/2014

    " Historical fiction is one of those genres I've always relinquished to my sister, but having read two of Dunant's novels over the summer, I've come away with a certain appreciation for the art form. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Brooke | 1/13/2014

    " Beautifully vivid images of Rome and Venice in the mid-1500's abound in this book. However, the really intriguing story doesn't happen until the final 100 pages! "

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