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Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entree to this all male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body. Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where and why he has gone. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco. In each new land she probes the mystery of her father's flight, and opens new mysteries of her own. Not just mysteries of ailments and treatments, but ultimate mysteries of mortality, love, and the timeless human spirit. The novel contains medical lore and sensuous, vivid details of Renaissance life.