Daughters of the Doge: A novel of Renaissance Venice

Written by Edward Charles
Review by Doug Kemp

This is the second in the Richard Stocker series, quickly following on from the first novel published in 2006, In the Shadow of Lady Jane. Stocker had become friendly with Jane Grey and had witnessed her brief reign and subsequent incarceration and execution. Three years later, under Queen Mary, the new climate inEngland is hostile to Protestantism and he decides to travel abroad. Stocker turns up inVenice where he again exercises (for a relative menial) his amazing ability to ingratiate himself with a trio of remarkable and colourful women. Their tales are narrated, and Richard involves himself in a romance and a major dose of intrigue.

Sixteenth-century Venice is depicted with a lively historical brush, and the story rattles along pleasantly. But, I do feel that these are essentially modern characters with 21st century concerns and manners dressed up in Renaissance garb. It is an easy and undemanding read.