The Indes Venture
Number of pages
***Rights sold to Italy, under option in Germany, Spain, and Portugal***
Ever since the beginning of the fifteenth century, the world has been opening up, and Portugal is the driving force behind this. Lisbon, the capital of knowledge, is a melting pot for every profession associated with discovery: mathematics, cosmography, geography, cartography . . .
On August 13, 1476, the ship commanded by Christopher Columbus is shipwrecked off the Portuguese coast. He manages to reach the coast, and finds refuge in Lisbon with his younger brother, Barthlomew, a cartographer.
For eight years, the two brothers work together, planning the journey Christopher has been dreaming of since his adolescence: the Indes Venture, heading for Cipango (Japan) and the empire of the Great Khan (China). But instead of the usual route, the silk route to the east, they will tackle the oceans due west.
Bartholomew narrates this great adventure as the principal witness of the Venture from its inception, along with a gallery of secondary characters including a master cartographer, a widow maker, a slow-witted woman, a prostitute known principally for the quality of her ears, Marco Polo, Indian-eating dogs, and more. He also asks important questions: How and why did the commendable passion for discovery turn into genocide of the Indians? What is the point of discovering if you kill what you find?
Erik Orsenna :
Erik Orsenna, born in 1947, is a member of the Académie Française and has authored many books, including the 1988 Goncourt Prize winner L’Exposition coloniale (Seuil, 1988), La grammaire est une chanson douce (Stock, 2001 and Georges Braziller, 2004), Madame Bâ (Fayard, 2003), and La révolte des accents (Stock, 2007).