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The Plague Doctor

Near the end of the novel (chapter 48, p. 671), Niccolo and Giuditta are fleeing Rome ahead of the plague, when they’re confronted with an odd sight in front of the Hospital for Incurable Diseases. Among the dead and dying, they see, “one bizarre, solitary figure that moved among them. It looked not so much like a man as a giant bird, a black bird with black gloves and a black hood and a big yellow beak.”

Behold the Plague Doctor (pictured at right).  Read More 
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