The Venetian Bargain

Written by Marina Fiorato
Review by Veronika Pelka

It is the year 1576 on the Christian calendar, and the Ottoman Sultan means to take revenge on the Venetians for destroying his 300-ship fleet at the Battle of Lepanto. And his strategy is quite ingenious. He is returning one of their captured ships, and aboard it, a man suffering from the plague.

Our heroine, Feyra, is the ship captain’s daughter and, though she contracts the plague, both she and the plague victim survive. When all disembark at Venice, the tension in the story rises dramatically. But Feyra is no ordinary young woman. She was trained as a physician to the women in the Sultan’s harem and possesses knowledge of the medical arts. It is this and her courage that ultimately save her and the city of Venice.

The Venetian Bargain has several interesting subplots and numerous unexpected twists. The depiction of life in Constantinople and Venice feels authentic, as do the descriptive details of the city’s history during the plague years. If you are willing to suspend your disbelief in the very early pages, you will be rewarded with hours of reading pleasure.