"'You will learn,' said Veronica. 'The Republic of La Serenissima is a much more sophisticated place than your London. A common prostitute is paid in hard cash; but a courtesan finds her reward in the relationship itself. It's much nicer, don't you think?'"
Venice, 1556: a wealthy, bustling, multi-cultural city, with a standard of living four times that of anywhere else in Europe. Into this exciting world comes 20-year-old English protestant Richard Stocker, recovering from the execution of his friend Lady Jane Grey (a friendship recounted in Edward Charles' debut novel In the Shadow of Lady Jane).
Soon Richard finds himself caught up in the complexities of La Serenissima, and involved with three of the city's most remarkable women: Faustina Contarini, a nun imprisoned in a convent by her noble family; Yasmeen Ahmed, Muslim clerk and book-keeper to the great artist Tintoretto; and Veronica Franco, artists' model, courtesan and poet. Each has her own story to tell, but they have one thing in common: they are all daughters of the Doge, held captive by the contradictory laws and regulations of this teeming city.
This is a thrilling account of a young man's transformation, as he discovers love, faith and deception in a colourfully-evoked Renaissance Venice.