A tall, yellow-haired young European traveller calling himself 'Mogor dell'Amore', the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the real Grand Mughal, the Emperor Akbar, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the whole imperial capital. The stranger claims to be the child of a lost Mughal princess, the youngest sister of Akbar's grandfather Babar: Qara Koz, 'Lady Black Eyes', a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, who is taken captive first by an Uzbek warlord, then by the Shah of Persia, and finally becomes the lover of a certain Argalia, a Florentine soldier of fortune, commander of the armies of the Ottoman Sultan. When Argalia returns home with his Mughal mistress the city is mesmerized by her presence, and much trouble ensues."The Enchantress of Florence" is the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world. It brings together two cities that barely know each other - the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire and the treachery of sons, and the equally sensual Florentine world of powerful courtesans, humanist philosophy and inhuman torture, where Argalia's boyhood friend "il Machia" - Niccolr Machiavelli - is learning, the hard way, about the true brutality of power. These two worlds, so far apart, turn out to be uncannily alike, and the enchantments of women hold sway over them both. But is Mogor's story true? And if so, then what happened to the lost princess? And if he's a liar, must he die?
On a rainy morning, not long after the funeral of his mother, Commissario Brunetti and Ispettore Vianello respond to a 911 call reporting a body floating near the steps in one of Venice's side canals. Reaching down to pull it out, Brunetti's wrist is caught by the silkiness of golden hair, and he sees a small foot - together he and Vianello lift a dead girl from the water. But, inconceivably, no one has reported a missing child, nor the theft of the gold jewellery that she carries.So Brunetti is drawn into a search not only for the cause of her death but also for her identity, her family, and for the secrets that people will keep in order to protect their children - be they innocent or guilty. The investigation takes Brunetti from the canals and palazzos of Venice to a Gypsy encampment on the mainland, through quicksands of connections and relationships both known and concealed, as he struggles with both institutional prejudice and entrenched criminality to try to unravel the fate of the dead child.
And last but not certainly not the least for our non fiction lovers:
A Dangerous Liaison tells the intense, passionate and sometimes painful story of how these two brilliant free-thinkers - and rivals - came to a share a relationship that was to last over fifty years. Moving from the corridors of the Sorbonne and the chestnut groves in the Limousin, to the cafes of Paris's Left Bank, we discover how the strikingly beautiful and gifted young Simone came to fall in love with the squinting, arrogant, hard-drinking Jean-Paul. Seymour-Jones describes that first summer of 1929: the heated debates that went on long into the night, the sexual rivalry and betrayal, the dangerous ideas that led people to experiment with new ways of behaving and the deep love that this perhaps unlikely couple shared. We hear how Sartre clandestinely compromised with the Nazis and fell into a Soviet honey-trap. And, thanks to recently discovered letters written by de Beauvoir, the darker, more dangerous side to their philosophy of free love is revealed, including Simone's lesbianism and her pimping for younger girls for Jean-Paul, in order to keep his love. This is a compelling and fascinating account of what lay behind the legend that this brilliant, tempestuous couple had created.
The Enchantress of the Forest, The Girl of His Dreams and A Dangerous Liaison are all available at the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore