What you risk reveals what you value…
Henri had a passion for Napoleon and Napoleon had a passion for chicken. From Boulogne to Moscow Henri butchered for his Emperor and never killed a single man.
Meanwhile, in Venice, the city of chance and disguises, Villanelle was born with the webbed feet of her boatman father – but in the casinos she gambled her heart and lost.
As the soldier-chef’s love for Napoleon turns to hate he finds the Venetian beauty, and together they flee to the canals of darkness.
“It’s a fantasy, a vivid dream… inventive and brilliant” Guardian
“As moving and funny as it is skilful, and reflects the author’s formiddable appetite for life” Sunday Times
“A book of great imaginative audacity and assurance…brilliantly physical (and funny) detail” Times Literary Supplement
“Its concentrated, beautifully detailed prose recalls the diction of fairy tales; its plot incorporates their magic, their shrewd wit and brutality…a deeply imagined and beautiful book, often arrestingly so” New York Times
“Lyrical prose penetrates to the heart of things… She knows how to speak plain truth and at the same time satisfy our longing for the fabulous. She’s telling you stories. Trust her” Washington Post
“An explosively imaginative writer” London Free Press
“A historical novel quite different from any other…written with a living passion, an eyewitness immediacy… Winterson is a master of her material, a writer in whom great talent deeply abides” Vanity Fair
“Recalls Garcia Marquez… Magical touches dance like highlights over the brilliance of this fairy tale about passion, gambling, madness, and androgynous ecstasy” Edmund White
“The overwhelming impression of her work is one of remarkable self-confidence, and she evidently thrives on risk… As good as Poe: it dares you to laugh and stares you down” New York Review of Books