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Authors: Edward Charles

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Daughters of the Doge (68 page)

BOOK: Daughters of the Doge
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I looked at the page before me, suddenly realizing that I had not mentioned Veronica. For a moment I paused, wondering how I could ever explain someone like her to my parents, far off in another world. In the end I decided the task was impossible. I and my friends in Venice knew the role she had played and she would never be undervalued by my parents’ ignorance of her. I had said enough. It was time to end.

My enduring love to you both and to my little sister Kate, who is no doubt a grown woman by now. I so hope that one day you may make the long journey to visit us here and see how well we fare. Yasmeen and I also hope, one day, to visit England and to see you there.

Thank you, Mother; thank you, Father, for all you have done. I have tried to fulfil the promise that you believed was in me and to make the most of the opportunities you gave me.

Now I am grown. From now on, this will be my life. I shall, in the future, be answerable to others, so in a sense this is farewell. I doff my cap to you for helping me to reach this point and I thank you both once again. Look after yourselves and until we meet again, in this life or the next, God’s blessings be upon you.

Your loving son,



I put down my pen, sipped a glass of Niccolò’s good wine, and read back through what I had written. For most of my childhood, I had longed to become a ‘grown up’, to become my own person and to fly the nest. Yet now, when it came to the moment, it was hard to say goodbye.

But it was time. Childhood lay behind me, and there would no longer be anyone to lean on. Soon I would be a husband, and perhaps one day a father, and others would lean on me. The new responsibilities that I would face did not appear as a burden, but as an exciting opportunity to make my own mark on the world. My world.

Swallowing hard from emotion, but feeling a strange sense of release, I put down the letter and gazed into the fire.


First, a wonderful accident. I was sitting in my office in the medical practice where I was working at the time as practice manager, and my mind kept wandering to
Daughters of the Doge
and how I could get the first chapter started and reintroduce two of my main characters, familiar to those who had read my first novel,
In the Shadow of Lady Jane.
The office doubled as the practice’s medical library and my eye fell upon
The Paradox of Progress
(1995), in which Dr James Willis shares his interpretation of what it is to be a GP and those moments of achievement that make all the frustration worthwhile. The book opens with ‘My New Trick’, the true story of a night-time visit to a chef who had fallen on stairs and popped out his kneecap in an agonizing dislocation. Thank you, Dr Willis.

Sorrowful Captives – The Tudor Earls of Devon,
by Horatia Durant (1960), ends with a five-page overview of the last journey made by Edward Courtenay from Louvain to Venice and on to Padua. Local Devon history books had already attached Dr Thomas Marwood to the earl’s journey, giving me the basic scaffolding for this essentially true story.

In recent years, it seems, the task of the historical novelist has been aided by the increasing accessibility of historical research. Whereas in my schooldays, historical analysis seemed largely dull as ditchwater; some of today’s historians manage to achieve a freshness of style that makes their ‘stories’ a pleasure to read. Two of these contributed particularly to
Daughters of the Doge. Virgins of Venice: Broken Vows and Cloistered Lives in the Renaissance

by Mary Laven (2003) brought me to the Convento di Sant’ Alvise and an intriguing character opportunity
The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-century Venice,
by Margaret F. Rosenthal (1992) inspired me to recognize the significance and personality of a fascinating woman. She was so good I had to move her life forward by a few years to get the story to work. The fact that Tintoretto really painted her was a bonus.

I remain indebted to Mike Barnard and his formative team at Macmillan New Writing for creating the MNW concept and for accepting
In the Shadow of Lady Jane
as one of the fourteen books to be published during the first year of its existence. Sophie Portas’s hard work on marketing the hardback edition has been rewarded by a paperback version a year later, for which I am grateful. It seems ‘the Ryanair of publishing’ works after all.

Daughters of the Doge
is the first ‘second novel’ by an MNW writer to be published and for this I am grateful to Will Atkins and Maria Rejt for their continuing faith in me. Further thanks are due to Will Atkins, who, as my editor, has steered me and the manuscript to where we are today; both, I believe, much improved by the process.

This book is dedicated to Sheila, still my Yasmeen after thirty-eight years.



Edward Charles has been a university lecturer, a management consultant and a City and international businessman. He lives in Devon, where he writes, paints and tends his vineyard.


Also by Edward Charles
in the Richard Stocker series

In the Shadow of Lady Jane


First published 2007 by Macmillan New Writing

This edition published 2008 by Pan Books

This electronic edition published 2010 by Pan Books
an imprint of Pan Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RR
Basingstoke and Oxford
Associated companies throughout the world

ISBN 978-0-230-75657-1 PDF
ISBN 978-0-230-75656-4 EPUB

Copyright © Edward Charles 2007

The right of Edward Charles to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

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BOOK: Daughters of the Doge
13.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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