A vivid, antic, and picaresque novel spun around one of history's most bizarre chapters: the sixteenth-century attempt to procure a rhinoceros as a bribe for Pope Leo X. Set in an age of global expansion, The Pope's Rhinoceros holds up the history of the rhinoceros as a mirror to the obsessions and corrupt fantasies of the Renaissance. In February 1516, a Portuguese ship sank off the coast of Italy. The Nostra Senora de Ajuda had sailed 14,000 miles from the Indian kingdom of Gujarat. Her mission: to bribe the "pleasure-loving Pope" into favoring expansionist Portugal over her rival Spain with the most exotic and least likely of gifts - a living rhinoceros. This strange incident is the germ of truth within the unfettered fantasy of Lawrence Norfolk's intricately plotted, marvelously detailed, seductively intriguing second novel - a triumph of storytelling that is as arcane and erudite as it is compelling and entertaining. Moving from the herring colonies of the Baltic Sea to the West African rainforest, with a cast of characters including a resourceful ex-mercenary, Salvestro; his dimwitted comrade, Bernardo; an order of reclusive monks; and Rome's corrupt cardinals, courtesans, ambassadors, and nobles, The Pope's Rhinoceros is at once a fabulous adventure tale and a portrait of an age rushing headlong to its crisis.
Original title: The Pope's Rhinoceros
Genre: Fiction→ Adventure→ Wild Frontiers And Exotic Lands
Fiction→ Historical→ European→ Renaissance