Giulia Tofana longs for more responsibility in her mother’s apothecary business, but Mamma has always been secretive and refuses to tell her the hidden keys to her success.
But the day Mamma is arrested for the poisoning of the powerful Duke de Verdi, Giulia is shocked to uncover the darker side of her trade.
Giulia must run for her life, and escapes to Naples, under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, to the home of her Aunt Isabetta, a famous courtesan. But when Giulia hears that her mother has been executed, and the cruel manner of her death, she swears she will wreak revenge on the Duke de Verdi.
The trouble is, Naples is in the grip of Domenico, the Duke’s brother, who controls the city with the Camorra, the Mafia. Worse, her Aunt Isabetta, under his thrall, insists that she should be consort to him.
Deborah has written several features for Historia about the stories behind her novels. Some of them are:
A different kind of WWII resistance
In search of the animals in the Great Fire of London
And so to bed – a goodbye to Pepys’s diary
Luck or lottery? Choosing your valentine in the 17th century
Health and hellfire: personalising the Plague in 17th-century London
Animating Pepys’s Women