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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 (11,555 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:
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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 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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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