Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entree to this all male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body. Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where and why he has gone. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco. In each new land she probes the mystery of her father's flight, and opens new mysteries of her own.
Everyone has heard of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci, but few are familiar with Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola. One of the most celebrated portraitists of her day, Sofonisba honed her craft despite the double standard applied to both her life and her work. Denied the artistic and personal freedom granted even to men of lesser talent, she is forced to flee her native Italy in the wake of a sexually charged scandal. In her new role as painting instructor and lady-in-waiting to young Queen Elisabeth of Spain, Sofi is an intimate witness to the intrigues and maneuverings of King Felipe's royal court.
Set in 1583 against a backdrop of religious-political intrigue and barbaric judicial reprisals, this compelling debut centers on real-life Giordano Bruno, a former Italian monk excommunicated by the Roman Catholic church. He is hunted across Europe by the Inquisition for his belief in a heliocentric infinite universe. Befriended by the charismatic English courtier and soldier Sir Philip Sidney, the ambitious Bruno flees to more tolerant Protestant England, where Sir Francis Walsingham, recruits him to spy for the crown. As one Oxford fellow after another falls to gruesome homicide, Bruno struggles to unravel Oxfords tangled loyalties. Parris interweaves historical fact with psychological insight as Bruno, a humanist dangerously ahead of his time, begins his quest to light the fire of enlightenment in Europe. This is the first in a series of historical suspense novels.
This remarkable novel is based on a centures-old manuscript written by Berekiah Zarco, a Portuguese Jew who witness the Lisbon massacre of 1506 when Christian fanatics, led by a group of monks, killed and burned hundreds of Jews in the city’s square. Berekiah attemps to solve the murder of his uncle, Kabbalist master Abraham, who was killed in ritualistic fashion. This illuminates the compelling history of Portuguese Jews who had to practice their religion in secret after being forced to convert to Christianity in 1497.
From 1501-1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming 50-year-old at the peak of his career and Michelangelo was an unknown, temperamental sculptor desperate to make a name for himself when he wins the commission to carve what will become one of the most famous sculptures of all time: David. Leonardo begins to experience some tough life difficulties. Oil and Water details the story of their nearly forgotten rivalry and brings early 16th-century Florence to life.
At age eighteen, Artemisia Gentileschi finds herself humiliated in papal court for publicly accusing the man who raped her-Agostino Tassi, her painting teacher. When even her father does not stand up for her, she knows she cannot stay in Rome and begs to have a marriage arranged for her. Her new husband, an artist named Pietro Stiatessi, takes her to his native Florence, where her talent for painting blossoms and she becomes the first woman to be elected to the Accademia dell'Arte. But marriage clashes with Artemisia's newfound fame as a painter, and she begins a lifelong search to reconcile painting and motherhood, passion and genius.
Brooks fictionalizes the history of a book, the Hebrew codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, an extremely precious illuminated manuscript originally from medievel Spain. In 1996, as a ceasefire is effected to quell the bloody violence in Bosnia, Australian book conservator Hanna Heath is called to restore the famous Sarajevo Haggadah. The condition of the manscript, including a stain on a page and certain items clinging to it (among them an insect wing that falls from the binding when Hanna conducts her preliminary review of repair needs), leads her on a search for answers to where the Haggadah has been all its life. This leads to a marvelously evocative journey backward in time, to periods of major religious strife and persecution, from the 1940 German occupation of Yugoslavia, to 1894 Vienna, to 1609 Venice, to 1492 Barcelona, and, finally, 1480 Seville.
Cambridge student Christopher Marlowe, 19, already has a reputation: as a wordsmith, lover, fighter (with dagger and rapier), actor, and "spectacularly convincing liar," who also shows no fear. So, in 1583, Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, recruits the young man to thwart a plot by papists in Spain and England to kill the queen and install Mary of Scots, a Catholic, on the throne. With his close friend Rodrigo Lopez, the queen's physician, Marlowe is tasked to rescue a valuable English spy who's imprisoned in a well-guarded dungeon in Malta and return the prisoner, who has vital information, to England. Marlowe faces two problems: he is wanted in Cambridge for the murder of a classmate whose body was found in his room, and he soon calculates that there are deceptions everywhere he turns, making it difficult to know who can be trusted.
The year is 1570, and in the convent of Santa Caterina, in the Italian city of Ferrara, noblewomen find space to pursue their lives under God's protection. But any community, however smoothly run, suffers tremors when it takes in someone by force. And the arrival of Santa Caterina's new novice sets in motion a chain of events that will shake the convent to its core.
Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased. Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband’s murder, Caterina single-handedly holds off invaders who would steal her title and lands.
Catherine Parr has the distinction of being the last of Henry's six wives and the only one to survive him after his death. Compelled by fear and duty to marry Henry despite being passionately in love with Thomas Seymour, Catherine nevertheless forges a strong bond with both the increasingly ailing king and his three children. Court conspiracies cannot be entirely avoided as Catherine's enemies plot against her and attempt to undermine her influence on king, country, and church.