Extended Audio Sample

Download In the Company of the Courtesan: A Novel Audiobook

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 (11,555 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Dunant Narrator: Richard Grant, Richard E. Grant Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2006 ISBN: 9780739325070
Regular Price: $14.98 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $14.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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 Courtesan paints 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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_000801

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon Lewis Merritt | 2/16/2014

    " This book should be a film and Peter Dinklage should star in it. I could envision every scene. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerri | 2/13/2014

    " Sex, history and an engaging cast of characters combine to make this a truly enjoyable and memorable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Antonia | 2/7/2014

    " Sarah Dunant clearly knows her Italian history, and it shines through in this book, as in her others, as she writes about life in Renaissance Italy. Through her characters we relive the sack of Rome in 1527, and then see, smell, taste and almost touch Venice as the courtesan Fiammetta and her dwarf companian Bucino reestablish themselves there. They are compelling people, and it's easy to get drawn into their story, wanting to see what will become of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lissa | 1/30/2014

    " I really liked this book, as much as Birth of Venus. The research she does is amazing. The story was never predictable. My only reservation is there is someone giving abortions to the Courtesans of Venus and there is no discussion of the religious implications for someone who raised truly catholic with no other values available. And it makes no sense why she would keep the bones - especially with the way they must have smelled. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Letitia | 1/28/2014

    " While Dunant's writing is just as stunning as it was in Birth of Venus, I found the story less interesting. The plot seemed to take ages to gain momentum, and by the time I was truly interested, it was drawing to a close. I felt the story was imbalanced and while the characters were interesting, never became "real." Still well-written, but not up to a historical fiction buff's snuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laural | 1/22/2014

    " This book really isn't about much -- the author is an art historian, I believe, and she chooses a painting and invents a story and characters around it, based on what is known of the culture in that place and time. For that, it's very well fleshed out and a good read. This one is about a courtesan and her dwarf companion who flee the sack of Rome for Venice. I spent a couple of days in Venice, and it was nice to revisit the city through her eyes, in another time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kytheria | 1/16/2014

    " It is good for once to read a story about someone from another person, who's not supposed to be the main character, yet he lived and described "her" in a true way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Taylor | 1/15/2014

    " I read this book because I am a sucker for Venice. I liked the history part of the book. The story was just ok. It is an adult book. Not to graphic but there were a few things. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 K. | 1/15/2014

    " Pales so much in comparison to The Birth of Venus. So disappointed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natalie | 12/31/2013

    " What a wonderful find! I loved this book and am thrilled to find such a fantastic writer to enjoy. I found myself not wanting to rush through the book so I could savor and enjoy the words. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Leyendecker | 12/23/2013

    " 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Teddy | 12/14/2013

    " Did not finish. Not my cup of java. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Isobel | 10/31/2013

    " Interesting fiction about a dwarf and the prostitite he works for fleeing Rome and setting up shop in Venice. Good read for those who love books set in Italy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Lee | 10/23/2013

    " Did not finish her first book, but really liked this one. Would make good book club pick. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 8/19/2013

    " A far more rewarding and intelligent read than the write up might suggest "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Whitaker | 8/16/2013

    " A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathryn | 7/17/2013

    " It was slow moving in the beginning and the plot didn't really pick up until the final 4 chapters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Simon Ruddell | 6/28/2013

    " At first reading I was bored but then I went to Venice and decided to try again and I loved it! Read it with a huge large sacle street map of Venice spread ut on the floor beside me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sapna | 2/10/2013

    " At least Birth of Venus had a semi-interesting story with a little historical fiction. I did not see the point of this book--and could not wait for it to end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 southpaw285 | 7/28/2012

    " This was a complete and utter waste of my time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 6/29/2012

    " This really is a book to savour - I found myself deliberately slowing down to absorb it better, and it's definitely worth the effort. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Delight | 6/10/2012

    " This was a fun read about a prostitute and a dwarf. The story was engaging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilyn Lagier | 6/1/2012

    " For the $1.50 I paid at the humane society thriftshop, it was an alright book. Interesting look at Venician society of the mid-15th century...and having been to Venice, it was interesting to think of living in buildings connected only by canals and waterways. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa D. | 2/29/2012

    " If you read this AND watch the movie "Dangerous Beauty" you will be transported to Venice completely... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill Lesh | 11/17/2011

    " I really like Sarah Dunant's writing. She tells a great tale as well as paints a vivid picture of a period in history. This was a good read with surprises. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 8/26/2011

    " Interesting story of a dwarf that is a partner of a high-class prostitute in the 16th C. Venice. Just very interesting what happens, his observations and the interesting perspective that the author chose to write. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy T | 8/1/2011

    " I found this book to start off slow, but very quickly to turn into a very interesting book to listen too. I must say I didn't enjoy this book as much as Birth of Venus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 5/14/2011

    " Even though I liked all three Renaissance Italy books written by this author this was by far my favorite - I absolutely loved this narrator's "voice". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 5/8/2011

    " The characters were memorable. By the end of the book I felt I had lived during the 1500's and had a glimpse at a very different life. I also appreciated the author's research. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lissette | 5/4/2011

    " Not what i was expecting but still a good read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mary | 5/3/2011

    " I did not like this at all; not even a plot to keep me in it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evelyn | 4/12/2011

    " Incredibly interesting piece of historical fiction about the sack of Rome told from the perspective of a famous courtesan and her constant companion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 4/3/2011

    " This really is a book to savour - I found myself deliberately slowing down to absorb it better, and it's definitely worth the effort. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 4/2/2011

    " Actually audio book. I enjoyed it and gave a good sense of the times in the 1500s in Venice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claudette | 3/15/2011

    " Eh, it was OK. Fine to read if you have nothing else to read but not my favorite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lily | 3/4/2011

    " Starts slow but worth reading for the moving ending, this historical and sensuous novel takes a look at a courtesan and her dwarf businesspartner escaping the sack of Rome by Lutherans in favour of decadent Venice. Thee are very dry, slow parts but equally emotional and enjoyable ones. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations