In February 1516, a Portugese ship sank with the loss of all hands a mile off the coast of Italy. The Nostra Senora da Adjuda had sailed 14000 miles from the Indian kingdom Gujarat: her mission, to deliver a rhinoceros to the Pope. The Pope's Rhinoceros tells the stories which culminate in this bizarre incident. Ranging from the Baltic Sea to a flyblown colony in India, from a tribe hidden in the African rain forest to atrocities committed in an obscure town in Tuscany, Norfolk's brilliant novel holds up the true history of the rhinoceros as a mirror to the fantasies and obsessions of the Renaissance.
"A story of adventure enthralling in its scope and inventiveness, by turns comic and horrific, zestful and elegaic, involving a reclusive order of monks whose church is slowly sliding into the sea; Renaissance Rome with its sexual license and political rivalries; war and atrocity in the Central Italian States; and a remote tribe in the West African rain forest. Running through this variegated fable is the search for the rhinoceros. The exuberance, the sheer proliferation of incident and scene, are disciplined and controlled by unerring narrative pace and cunning"
'Spell-binding entertainment, richly imagined, painstakingly researched, superbly paced and utterly gripping' - Michael Dibdin, Independent on Sunday
Lawrence Norfolk was born in London in 1963. He has written four novels of historical fiction.
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