The Colour of Heaven

The Colour of Heaven is the story of the search for the perfect blue. It is set in the early fourteenth century and features a journey along the silk route, from Venice to Afghanistan and China.

This is a novel about lapis lazuli, early Renaissance painting, faith, love, and the invention of spectacles.

No one noticed the child.

He had been left in a small boat which now sailed out towards the lagoon, following nothing but the slap and tide of each narrow canal.

It was Ascension Day in the year twelve hundred and ninety. The people of Venice were parading through the streets, hoisting crimson pennants and bright yellow banners in celebration. Tailors dressed in white tunics with crimson stars, weavers in silver cloth tippets, and cotton-spinners in cloaks of fustian, mingled with blacksmiths, carpenters, butchers, and bakers, singing and shouting their way towards the Piazza San Marco.

The square was filled with showmen, swindlers, soothsayers and charlatans; jesters, jugglers, prophets and priests. Alchemists cried out that scrapings of amber gave protection from the plague, and that an emerald pressed against naked flesh could preserve a woman from apoplexy. A dentist with silver teeth sold a special compound which he vowed would improve the value of all metal; a barber displayed a gum to make bald men hirsute; and a naked Englishmen sold pine seeds which were said to guarantee invisibility as surely as the talisman of Gyges.

But no one had noticed the baby.