Thursday, 21 June 2012


Well the new book 'The Venetian Contract' is out today! Available from all good bookshops as they say, and also from Amazon on Here's a little blurb as a taster: VENICE, 1576 - Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague - and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge. But the ship also holds a secret stowaway - Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan's concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice. In despair the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career - an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio's own life is in danger too, and it will require all skills of medico Annibale Cason, the city's finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. But what Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio's protection, a woman who can not only match his medical skills but can also teach him how to care. ENJOY!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Just had a week with husband and kids in Stratford-Upon-Avon for half term. I'm doing research for the new novel (book 6, if you believe that?!)which I can't say much about except that it involves a certain Mr. William Shakespeare! It was useful for Sacha too as he is prepping a new movie which also updates a Shakespearean tale. We had a great time even though it drizzled so much I thought it was some kind of Twelfth Night reference (The rain it raineth every day!) We went to all the Shakespearean houses, such as the Birthplace,where a troupe of talented young actors wearing Elizabethan dress would do extracts from any play you asked for on request. I was very impressed with their recall! We asked for a bit of Midsummer Night's Dream, as our son is doing it at school. The actor playing Oberon involved him as Puck, plucking a flowerbud and giving it to him as Love-in-Idleness, and telling him not to fail in playing their trick on Titania. Another highlight was New Place, which is doing an archaeological initiative for kids called 'Dig for Shakespeare'. They could mess around in trays of sand and mud finding artefacts, and could actually clean and date coins that were found on site. We also visited Shakespeare's 'grave' where there is a disappointingly mundane and portly memorial to the great man. I had heard the rumour that his tomb depicted him with a woolsack and it was only replaced with a quill long after his death. Which brings me on to the authorship question. I found it interesting, in all of the extremely well-presented tourist attraction s we visited, that there was no more than a cursory discussion of who actually wrote Shakespeare. We'd just seen a very interesting documentary on Sky Arts, where such Shakespearean luminaries as Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance and Vanessa Redgrave were putting forth a very strong case for the Earl of Oxford. I suppose that since the 'Stratford Man' is the town's lifeblood, you can't blame the place for downplaying the controversy. Every landmark lays claim to the playwright, with a touching pride. Even our hotel, the Alveston Manor, was said to be the location of the first performance of Midsummer Night's Dream, which was set in and around the enormous cedar tree in the grounds. I was delighted with this discovery - the kids were more interested in climbing the tree!