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The Aquatic Labyrinth: A Venetian Mystery

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When Jacopo came back home, he could not have ever imagined that in a few hours he would have found himself running for his life across the most mesmerizing maze ever built, Venice. He would have never believed he would be dragging himself like a wounded animal, breathless and clueless through the alleys and across the canals of the city, desperately trying to extricate a When Jacopo came back home, he could not have ever imagined that in a few hours he would have found himself running for his life across the most mesmerizing maze ever built, Venice. He would have never believed he would be dragging himself like a wounded animal, breathless and clueless through the alleys and across the canals of the city, desperately trying to extricate a murder he did not commit, to find the key of the mysterious labyrinth of events he had entered without even noticing.


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When Jacopo came back home, he could not have ever imagined that in a few hours he would have found himself running for his life across the most mesmerizing maze ever built, Venice. He would have never believed he would be dragging himself like a wounded animal, breathless and clueless through the alleys and across the canals of the city, desperately trying to extricate a When Jacopo came back home, he could not have ever imagined that in a few hours he would have found himself running for his life across the most mesmerizing maze ever built, Venice. He would have never believed he would be dragging himself like a wounded animal, breathless and clueless through the alleys and across the canals of the city, desperately trying to extricate a murder he did not commit, to find the key of the mysterious labyrinth of events he had entered without even noticing.

30 review for The Aquatic Labyrinth: A Venetian Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Slawka

    /I received a free ebook from the author/ If there was an option like this, I would give this story 3,5 stars. It's a compelling historical mystery set in XIVth century Venice , that from the very beginning you know you have to solve. All the characters are so well written that you can actually see them. I also enjoyed a lot the change in narration from the first person to the third and back again... I believe not many authors can do it as skilfully as Alastair Fontana! Then why only 3 stars? Ther /I received a free ebook from the author/ If there was an option like this, I would give this story 3,5 stars. It's a compelling historical mystery set in XIVth century Venice , that from the very beginning you know you have to solve. All the characters are so well written that you can actually see them. I also enjoyed a lot the change in narration from the first person to the third and back again... I believe not many authors can do it as skilfully as Alastair Fontana! Then why only 3 stars? There are two reasons: there were way to many fragments in Italian. Even though I have some basic knowledge of the language, I've found many fragments that I didn't understand and because of that I couldn't fully enjoy these parts of the book. Only after finishing the book, I've found at the end the section with translations. I guess that knowing it before I could have enjoyed it much more! The second reason were too many historical commentaries. However really interesting, they slowed down the pace of the book. I imagine that the author making a research found so much information that he couldn't decide what to leave out. !!!!edited: I've just found out that in a newest Kindle version the parts in Italian are directly linked to their translations. Had I read this version, I would give the book 4 stars!!!! Anyhow, I would recommend it to anyone who LIKES historical mysteries or is interested in historical conspiracy theories. I would definitely read another novel by Alastair Fontana!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder

    The Aquatic Labyrinth: A Venetian Mystery is a beautifully written murder mystery that takes place in Venice approximately during the 13th century. The author, Alastair Fontana has crafted an intricate and enjoyable tale of a murder and the efforts of the main character to clear himself and his brother in law and the efforts of some compelling secondary characters to solve the crime as well. As it turns out this killing is no “simple” or “random” murder. It is a crime that could have political The Aquatic Labyrinth: A Venetian Mystery is a beautifully written murder mystery that takes place in Venice approximately during the 13th century. The author, Alastair Fontana has crafted an intricate and enjoyable tale of a murder and the efforts of the main character to clear himself and his brother in law and the efforts of some compelling secondary characters to solve the crime as well. As it turns out this killing is no “simple” or “random” murder. It is a crime that could have political ramifications and have political intrigue at the highest levels that could be a threat to the Republic of Venice itself. The big reveal at the end was a surprise. This book is delightfully detailed and the reading of it inspired me to envision the characters and the places that set the scene in the novel. For me, the reading of this book was indeed a visit to multicultural 13th century Venice. Fontana understands what the right level of detail is needed to transport the reader into the time and place of another world. I felt as if I had traveled to medieval Venice. This detail includes background on characters, description of buildings and architecture, food, attire, Venetian homes and the process for the bleaching of hair etc. (apparently bleached blonde hair was de rigueur in Venice at the time). The author includes detail about anything that was particular to life as it was lived in Venice at the time that is relevant to the story. In other words, he avoids the pitfall some writers make of including pointless detail just because he or she has performed some research and uncovered a lot of information that they were just dying to use. Included in the book are illustrations of a map of medieval Venice and that city’s Jewish ghetto (relevant to the story) as well as some other delightful illustrations. For example, some of these include images of a Venetian lady in medieval dress, a smithy and a “chopine,” which is a tall platform shoe that was fashionable at the time and kept ladies’ feet free of the dirt from the streets. The higher the platform of the shoe, the higher the status of the lady who wore them. Located at the back of the book is a glossary and biographical sketches of persons from history who are characters in the story. My copy of the book was in kindle format and I was not aware of this section until I had completed the book. Because of the glossary and biographical information located at the back of the book, it better read in hard copy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim C

    The author was kind enough to give this me as a free download for kindle. Thank you. This novel can be classified as historical fiction as it takes place in 18th century Venice. Jacopo comes home to Venice and becomes immediately involved in a murder mystery. As he is on the run, he tries to prove that he and his future brother-in-law are innocent. Little does he know that the murder is not a simple murder but involves political ramifications. This novel had a quick pace as there were no lulls for The author was kind enough to give this me as a free download for kindle. Thank you. This novel can be classified as historical fiction as it takes place in 18th century Venice. Jacopo comes home to Venice and becomes immediately involved in a murder mystery. As he is on the run, he tries to prove that he and his future brother-in-law are innocent. Little does he know that the murder is not a simple murder but involves political ramifications. This novel had a quick pace as there were no lulls for exposition or description of the city Venice. In fact, I loved the setting of this book as the author takes you thru the streets of Venice. The mystery was more layered than I first thought even though I had a feeling the person who orchestrated the plot was involved. The author did a great job with description of scenes (esp. one towards the end that I was shocked by) and I was interested throughout the whole book. My only problem with this novel is that I read it on my kindle. The author had a glossary in the back of the book for Italian words and phrases that appeared in the novel. In my opinion, to go back and forth on a kindle would have interrupted the flow of the book and I did not bother. There were times I would skip sections of this book as it was in Italian and I had no idea if these parts were essential to the mystery. Besides that, this novel was a quick, enjoyable read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nikita (Njkinny's Blog)

    When I first took up The Aquatic Labyrinth: a Venetian mystery, I wasn't quite sure of the treatment I would get here. The cover as well as the title is vague and gives no clear direction to a reader with respect to the story. The blurb is also ambiguous. But when you sink your teeth in the story, only then do you feel the full force of the magic Alastair creates in this book. :) The story is set in 14th century Venice and Alastair creates a vivid picture of the place at that time with all its co When I first took up The Aquatic Labyrinth: a Venetian mystery, I wasn't quite sure of the treatment I would get here. The cover as well as the title is vague and gives no clear direction to a reader with respect to the story. The blurb is also ambiguous. But when you sink your teeth in the story, only then do you feel the full force of the magic Alastair creates in this book. :) The story is set in 14th century Venice and Alastair creates a vivid picture of the place at that time with all its colors and textures in full bloom. His research is meticulous and it shows in the technique he applies to merge his plot in that time frame. He shows his knowledge of the geography as well as his knowledge of history in the characters he creates and in their beautiful adaptations. Admirably sketched and developed, they aid in taking the story forward. This is a fast paced novel with the protagonist racing against time to prove his innocence and it is in this scenario that the author introduces several very colorful characters like the courtesan, Veronica and the poet and scholar, Sara. Both these characters are complex as well as integral to the story. The plot is expertly devised and executed with no apparent loop holes. I was sucked in all the action and drama and couldn't keep the book down until I had finished reading it. :) A very fresh and interesting story from a very promising author, I give The Aquatic Labyrinth: a Venetian mystery a 4 out of 5 and congratulate the author in succeeding to deliver a well thought of and a very engaging mystery to the readers. Highly recommended to everyone, I look forward to reading more from Alastair in the future. I received the above book to read and review from the author and I am very thankful to him. The above review is my honest and unbiased opinion and in no way influenced. This review is also available on my blog Njkinny's World of Books

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lina

    I don't think I can find enough words to praise this book. It's been a long time since someone wrote a story that would have the ability to carry me away like that. It is true...it had me at hello. The main theme of the book revolves around a young man, Jacopo, who is involved in a crime he did not commit. Throughout the book, we see his efforts at proving his innocence. In the meantime, there are people that run to his aid and some others that set him traps. It seems like a pretty simple and pr I don't think I can find enough words to praise this book. It's been a long time since someone wrote a story that would have the ability to carry me away like that. It is true...it had me at hello. The main theme of the book revolves around a young man, Jacopo, who is involved in a crime he did not commit. Throughout the book, we see his efforts at proving his innocence. In the meantime, there are people that run to his aid and some others that set him traps. It seems like a pretty simple and predictable storyline, right? Well, there's more to the plot than meets the eye. There are quite a few key elements that differentiate it from others of this genre. It is actually a combination of gripping and smart writing which contains multiple sub-genres that diversifies it. The author has managed to put different "ingredients" in the mix to cover all tastes, but in a way that is so organized and subtle, that it gets into your subconscious without you realizing it. There's thriller, action, romance, philosophy (this one was the best part to me) and mystery combined in such a way that don't make the story seem "overstuffed". Once you think you've figured something out, another thing happens and has it annulled. Moreover, we would be introduced to new characters in almost every chapter, but it wasn't confusing. On the contrary, each one of them would have something to add to the story, so it has been very easy to remember them. The alternation of the points of view between the chapters, as illogical as it may seem in the universe of literature, has been intriguing and not out of place. Finally, the ending has been a bonus due to its unpredictability. I don't know what else to tell you about it. I'm sure I could go on and on, but that would defeat the object...after all, this is only a review. I will leave you with a wish. If only there were more books like this one out there!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    I really enjoyed The Aquatic Labyrinth by Alastair Fontana. It had all the ingredients that I enjoy in a historical mystery. There was intrigue and politics involved along with murder and conspiracy in the island city of Venice. Be pre-warned, if you do not like a detailed history of the locale in your historical mystery you may not care for this one. Each chapter begins with a description and explanantion of importance for each of the places that the scene is taking place in. I enjoyed this im I really enjoyed The Aquatic Labyrinth by Alastair Fontana. It had all the ingredients that I enjoy in a historical mystery. There was intrigue and politics involved along with murder and conspiracy in the island city of Venice. Be pre-warned, if you do not like a detailed history of the locale in your historical mystery you may not care for this one. Each chapter begins with a description and explanantion of importance for each of the places that the scene is taking place in. I enjoyed this immensely as I am a bit of a history buff and love to understand why a locale is important to its people and its time. But don't get me wrong. This is not a text book or travel guide. This is a murder mystery that will keep you chasing the answer until the very end. Jacopo has returned to Venice to see his sister and meet her fiance. It is here he is accused of murder and must flee. Learning that his sister's fiance is being held and tortured in connection with the killing, Jacopo stays in Venice to clear both he and his soon to be brother-in-law's name. Jacopo's journey will take him from the Jewish Ghetto to a nobleman's home and into the arms of a beautiful courtesan. He learns that the murder was far more than an act of opportunity but may indeed be the start of a war and endangers the very existance of the island city of Venice itself.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Sealey

    Through an extraordinary turn of events, Jacopo finds himself on the run in Venice, wanted for a murder he didn't commit. As the story unfolds, other characters who will help or hinder Jacopo on his quest to prove his innocence are introduced, including courtesan Veronica and renowned poet and scholar, Sara, both of whom I found intriguing. This was a highly enjoyable mystery concerning Venice's political and religious society in the post renaissance era. I found the historical references interes Through an extraordinary turn of events, Jacopo finds himself on the run in Venice, wanted for a murder he didn't commit. As the story unfolds, other characters who will help or hinder Jacopo on his quest to prove his innocence are introduced, including courtesan Veronica and renowned poet and scholar, Sara, both of whom I found intriguing. This was a highly enjoyable mystery concerning Venice's political and religious society in the post renaissance era. I found the historical references interesting, if at times a little overwhelming, and really enjoyed Jacopo's story once it got into full flow. The references to Labyrinths were so interesting, my favourite being this revelation from Sara. 'She suddenly understood that a word, any word, is nothing but a metaphor. In fact, a word is something that is used to represent something else, hence by definition, it is a metaphor.' You probably need to read it in context to understand its relevance though. Thank you to the author for alerting me to the free Kindle download of his book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Martha Bryce

    Neither the title nor the cover of this book was exciting or compelling, but the story was fantastic! Once you read the book, you will understand the title and its relevance. This novel is set in 14th century Venice and has it all: murder, mystery, a quest, a love interest. However, it is the exceptional attention to history and meticulous detail of recreating an authentic environment that makes this a fascinating read. I rarely rate a book with a 5, but this rating is well deserved. The story i Neither the title nor the cover of this book was exciting or compelling, but the story was fantastic! Once you read the book, you will understand the title and its relevance. This novel is set in 14th century Venice and has it all: murder, mystery, a quest, a love interest. However, it is the exceptional attention to history and meticulous detail of recreating an authentic environment that makes this a fascinating read. I rarely rate a book with a 5, but this rating is well deserved. The story is compelling, the characters are well developed, the research is impeccable, and the editing is excellent. This novel requires an intelligent reader who enjoys a high degree of complexity in a book because, the story itself is a labyrinth, with the introduction of new characters in most chapters, twists and turns in the plot that are unexpected, and a path that is not immediately clear but gifts the reader with real satisfaction once completed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Carnes

    I love historical mysteries and this was a winner. It takes place in 1300's Venice. This is a fast pace read with lots of detail, murder,mystery and history. What more could you ask for?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    At first I want to thank Alastair Fontana for letting me know that I can have his book for free in exchange for a rating and review which I gladly accepted. The book itself is very interesting. While I was reading I sometimes thought of Leonardo da Vinci or Dan Brown. Leonardo da Vinci because he was such an intelligent person and one of the characters of the book felt like he could be inspired by him (Leone). Dan Brown because ... I don´t know. The book was so clever written and details seemed s At first I want to thank Alastair Fontana for letting me know that I can have his book for free in exchange for a rating and review which I gladly accepted. The book itself is very interesting. While I was reading I sometimes thought of Leonardo da Vinci or Dan Brown. Leonardo da Vinci because he was such an intelligent person and one of the characters of the book felt like he could be inspired by him (Leone). Dan Brown because ... I don´t know. The book was so clever written and details seemed so good researched. Can´t really explain why I thought about Dan Brown while reading.... About the book: It begins in 1966 when the real (and then told) story was discovered. The discovered story is based in Venice of the 18th Century. The book is written from different point of views but shows mainly the views by following people: 1. Jacopo della Spina: He´s the main character of the book. The story is about what happened and what is still happening to him and the people around him. 2. Leone Da Modena: He´s a doctor and father of Zebulun. Both helped Jacopo a lot. Leone is also a friend of Sara. 3. Sara Sullam: She´s running a literary salon. Sara was later told by Leone to look for a labyrinth. And she did. 4. Veronica Franco: A courtesan/ prostitute who helps and later is involved in the life of Jacopo. As mentioned above, the book follows the story of Jacopo who discovers with and because of his brother-in- law a killed man and becomes the victim of a political and religious plan of aristocrats. Together with his brother-in-law Piero Fasiol, he was accused of being the murder of not only one man. While Piero was arrested Jacopo run away and tried to hide and then tried to prove his and Pieros innocence. On his way he met Leone and with Leone´s son Zebulun he went on to find the real murder. In that time Leone explains to and shows Sara that something special is happening which he doesn´t completely understand and that all of them (Jacopo, Leone, Sara and Veronica) are part of it. He tells her which part is hers and that she has to find a labyrinth. So her research starts and brings her to the knowledge of all the different types of labyrinths existing. At one point Jacopo meets Veronica. She is the one who has the connections to aristocrats and helps to figure things out and also helps Jacopo to hide. At the End Jacopo had to find out that nothing was as it seemed and that he was betrayed and trapped. He was the victim all the time. He had to fear for his life the whole time. He had until .... Will Jacopo die or is he capable of proving the innocence of his and Piero? What about Piero? What is going on between Jacopo and Veronica? Will Sara find the labyrinth she has to look for and what is it about that labyrinth? I´m not going to spoil so people have to read to find out ;) The reason why I don´t rate the book higher (would have given it a half star more, but couldn´t do it here), although I found it very interesting, was that some parts and words were Italian which I don´t understand and just left me a little confused. I confess that it´s also my fault. I´ve just over read that there´s a “dictionary” and translation at the end but even then it would have been annoying to click back and forth. Guess I would prefer to have that book as a paperback so it would be much easier to check the words. It is the same with the map. It would have been easier to look at it when needed without leaving the page I was reading. What I loved were the little drawings on each chapter. So by and large I would recommend it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Lahain

    Fair warning: this exquisitely plotted historical murder mystery is as much a philosophical meditation as it is a Whodunit. THE AQUATIC LABYRINTH takes us on a tour of (let's call it) "17th" century Venice in all its beauty, grotesqueness, grandeur and depravity. Author Alastair Fontana populates his fictional world with historical figures from a range of time periods, which might annoy certain purists, but for me made the reality he creates waver like the sun on the Mediterranean. This liquidit Fair warning: this exquisitely plotted historical murder mystery is as much a philosophical meditation as it is a Whodunit. THE AQUATIC LABYRINTH takes us on a tour of (let's call it) "17th" century Venice in all its beauty, grotesqueness, grandeur and depravity. Author Alastair Fontana populates his fictional world with historical figures from a range of time periods, which might annoy certain purists, but for me made the reality he creates waver like the sun on the Mediterranean. This liquidity fits nicely with the shifting alliances and tangled motives at the bottom of the murders of two public figures with diametrically opposed political affiliations. Our hero is Jacopo, an outsider from his very conception. His mother was Italian, but his father was an English sailor and therefore not allowed to live in Venice. Though very much in love, the couple spent their lives mostly apart. Jacopo is now a sailor himself. He comes back to Venice to see his sister and meet his future brother-in-law. Matters go awry when the brother-in-law discovers a ceremonial dagger in the street. Only later, as he and Jacopo go to return it, do they notice the dead body of the man they will be accused of murdering. Though Jacopo initially escapes, he refuses to flee the city until he can clear the name of his brother-in-law, now imprisoned and facing torture and execution. Helping Jacopo are a collection of characters taken from every level of Venice's complicated and highly stratified society. Fontana does a wonderful job building complex, believable characters. Both his male and female creations are set firmly in their particular social strata and yet given such rich inner lives that they stand out as individuals. It is this attention to human detail that made me stick with the story when things went off on more theoretical and philosophical tangents. The author offers a huge amount of historical detail in the course of his narrative. At the beginning of the book, when I was still feeling my way around and trying to get situated in Fontana's world, I found the period descriptions and explanations a little heavy-handed. As the plot unfolded, however, detail and context melded together almost seamlessly. The novel's roving point of view also took some time to become used to. On top of repeated shifts from first to third person, there's an omniscient voice that seems to be constantly present, watching and commenting. Yet, once I was used to it, I could see how well the multiple voices reflected the complexity of the setting and the characters.The Venice of this novel is one city and many cities. It is both a place AND an idea. I loved Umberto Eco's THE NAME OF THE ROSE, and THE AQUATIC LABYRINTH has similar depth and resonance. It is well worth having to look up a definition or literary allusion here and there to enjoy such an engrossing experience.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    Review from my blog: I'm back with another review! This week's book, as you can tell from the post title, is "The Aquatic Labyrinth" by Alastair Fontana which I downloaded at the end of January when if was available for free download on Amazon. However, there is also a giveaway currently being held on Goodreads for a paperback copy if you missed the chance to download it. I rather enjoyed the storyline, however, there are a few small things to be aware of. The writing takes a little while to get u Review from my blog: I'm back with another review! This week's book, as you can tell from the post title, is "The Aquatic Labyrinth" by Alastair Fontana which I downloaded at the end of January when if was available for free download on Amazon. However, there is also a giveaway currently being held on Goodreads for a paperback copy if you missed the chance to download it. I rather enjoyed the storyline, however, there are a few small things to be aware of. The writing takes a little while to get used to if you read it in ebook format. Some chapters are told from a first person perspective, while others are told from various third person points of view- the switch between them can take some time to get used to. In fact, the first roughly 10% or so of the book is written in a sort of choppy action sequence that left me a little confused- like I had missed the first bit of the story. Everything is eventually explained, but until then, it will seem as if the story is incomplete. I also noticed that the story would slip into flashbacks without much warning and the dialogue narration tended to be formed of long passages without breaks that would bring more realism to the characters' story telling and would help keep readers from potentially forgetting a flashback was taking place. Other than that, there were some small inconsistencies that were most likely editing slips: characters remembered events that they hadn't actually witnessed according to the timeline, the dialogue is sometimes written in a way that makes the identity of the speaker confusing to the reader, and some character details change (for example, the amount of children one of the character has changes from four to three). Also, there is italian in this book. Poems that are written in old italian that resembles more latin than the modern language (which fits the time period, but can be confusing to readers who don't know the language) and sparse words that personally kept some of the story from flowing smoothly- though that is mostly just a personal preference of mine. Ultimately, I enjoyed the storyline and the different points of view let you see more of Venice- even if the different storylines seem a little confusing. It's a quick read and I would recommend it- primarily if you love stories about or inspired by the Venetian history and culture. Keep in mind that the story at times reads like a draft, and while there are some stumbling blocks there aren't so many that they distract greatly from the storyline.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Allison Ruvidich

    I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. That has not influenced my opinion at all. This book puzzled me vastly. This is the story of Jacopo, a young Venetian sailor who finds himself irreparably entangled in a web of intrigue surrounding a strange dagger. As the danger grows, it becomes increasingly likely that he and his family will be casualties in a massive conflict. He is aided in solving the mystery by Sara, a Jewish poetess, and Veronica, a Venetian courtes I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. That has not influenced my opinion at all. This book puzzled me vastly. This is the story of Jacopo, a young Venetian sailor who finds himself irreparably entangled in a web of intrigue surrounding a strange dagger. As the danger grows, it becomes increasingly likely that he and his family will be casualties in a massive conflict. He is aided in solving the mystery by Sara, a Jewish poetess, and Veronica, a Venetian courtesan. I will be frank. As a book, this was not good at all. Bad writing, poor grammar, and questionable character choices proliferated. I never found my place in the story—that is, none of the puzzle pieces ever fit together in a way that convinced me I was actually reading a story, not just a collection of scenes. The driving element of the plot is a mysterious murder, and when the murderer is finally revealed, it is a character the reader has never been introduced to. A romance between two characters is so improbable as to be ludicrous. The main characters’ way of solving the labyrinthine mystery dabble in the supernatural and never make sense. Every other word was sensual or intricate. And yet… I understand that in this book, the plot largely takes the back seat. The most likable character in this book, the poetess Sara, explores the theory that every time we are faced with a choice, we create a new world. And that was handled masterfully. In fact, the entire character of Sara was magnificent. Whenever she came around, the writing improved. I became interested. Even when it was suddenly revealed she wrote love letters to a man she had never met, I bought it. I ate it up. If this book had been about Sara, it would’ve been fantastic. Even now, there are glimmers of brilliance that I vastly enjoyed and wished were bigger. Although large elements of this book didn’t quite work, I will be keeping my eye on Alastair Fontana in the future. One star for the book, five stars for the character of Sara. We’ll call that three stars even.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    Thanks to an invitation from the author, I got a free kindle download of this book – in exchange for rating and reviewing it, which I gladly accepted. Thank you! Despite the fact that mystery and thriller are not my favorite genre (and due to this I would have probably not bought this book to start with), I got quickly fascinated by the story. The setting in late medieval Venice (somewhere between 14th and 15th century) is intriguing; being in love with this fairytale place even made me look up s Thanks to an invitation from the author, I got a free kindle download of this book – in exchange for rating and reviewing it, which I gladly accepted. Thank you! Despite the fact that mystery and thriller are not my favorite genre (and due to this I would have probably not bought this book to start with), I got quickly fascinated by the story. The setting in late medieval Venice (somewhere between 14th and 15th century) is intriguing; being in love with this fairytale place even made me look up some of the places Alastair Fontana mentions. His characters are a fantastic mix of real personages of their time and Fontana’s own imagination. Meaning every character is based on someone who actually lived a similar story but they did not always necessarily live in the same time period, so some of them could have never met. I really fell for the author’s imagination and story-telling abilities. What starts out as a crime investigation eventually turns out to be much more and includes not only political background information but mystical and philosophical elements needed for solving the case. At the end of the book, the reader finds a glossary with translations of the Italian poems, with a description of the Italian words used frequently in the story and a list of the characters with their historical background. In the beginning, I looked up everything and everyone and while it is highly interesting and shows Fontana’s great care for detail and historical research, I felt like I lost a bit of the flow of the story every time I went back to the glossary. So when the story really gripped me, I stopped looking up the names and words and didn’t feel like I missed anything; it is quite enough to read these descriptions after finishing the chapter. As much as I enjoyed the development of the story and its characters, towards the end it became too much for me and I had trouble following the heroine’s quest for clues and her sudden revelations. Despite this, when the background of the murder is revealed, it does feel possible and based on likely events.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shomeret

    I was reminded of Umberto Eco's mystery The Name of the Rose. Eco's book isn't similar to Fontana's in content, but they are alike in being mysteries that are also novels of ideas. The character that I found most notable is Sara Copio Sullam, an actual historical personage, who was a poet and a thinker who was accused of heresy. For more information see the article about her by Howard Tzvi Adelman on The Jewish Women's Archive. I admit that I didn't always agree with Fontana's version of Sara. He I was reminded of Umberto Eco's mystery The Name of the Rose. Eco's book isn't similar to Fontana's in content, but they are alike in being mysteries that are also novels of ideas. The character that I found most notable is Sara Copio Sullam, an actual historical personage, who was a poet and a thinker who was accused of heresy. For more information see the article about her by Howard Tzvi Adelman on The Jewish Women's Archive. I admit that I didn't always agree with Fontana's version of Sara. He has her thinking that allegories are a strategy to make men feel more learned than they are. I think that allegories are codes used by people who know a great deal, but are afraid of the consequences of expressing what they know publicly. When the consequences include being denounced to the Inquisition, disguising what you know in elaborate ciphers would definitely seem wiser. There was a great deal of value in The Aquatic Labyrinth. I found the story very compelling toward the end, and I identified with the character of Sara. Yet I do have criticisms. As much as I liked the thematic, historical and cultural content, I did think that characterization was a weak point of this book. It seemed to me that the only well-drawn complex character was Sara. Another problem is that some significant events weren't shown. Fontana chose to tell us about them indirectly. There was also a great deal of overt didacticism. In fiction, I prefer a plot that demonstrates the ideas that the author wants to communicate through its events, rather than being told about these ideas in the manner of non-fiction. I recommend this book to people who are interested in labyrinths, the history and culture of Venice and novels of ideas. For my complete review see http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    A good book, very well written and documented. I enjoyed reading it. It took me two starts to read the book, the first time I put it down early in the book, the second time I picked it up I read through over half the book in one sitting. I love the setting and the author seems very knowledgeable of the city. Maybe a too knowledgeable, I often couldn't keep up with the descriptions or felt like I should go do some research to better understand all the names and histories of the places being mentio A good book, very well written and documented. I enjoyed reading it. It took me two starts to read the book, the first time I put it down early in the book, the second time I picked it up I read through over half the book in one sitting. I love the setting and the author seems very knowledgeable of the city. Maybe a too knowledgeable, I often couldn't keep up with the descriptions or felt like I should go do some research to better understand all the names and histories of the places being mentioned. In fact a lot of the time I was reading the book I felt like an outsider listening to a tale being told amongst people who had better understanding because they had inside knowledge I didn't have. It still was easy to read (especially if I just glossed over any foreign words I didn't know--unfortunately the ebook I was reading didn't list the glossary in the "go-to" area so I didn't get the benefit of those definitions until I reached the end). The story line was interesting, and the pace of the book kept everything moving. The characters were interesting and related to each other well. In the story line some interesting thoughts emerged and I have a feeling hours/years could be spent on all the philosophical ideas that came up. I really liked Sara's insights and thoughts and if she had her own book expanding and discussing all the different views she had during this story it would be interesting, though probably more work than I want in my normal recreational reading. Sara's story was necessary for the end, but always seemed apart and unnecessary for most of the book. I didn't spend enough time digesting all the different angles to her theories but moved back into the plot following the main character. All in all this book is a good book to experience the location, the time period, philosophy and maybe even a little culture. The author appears to have great knowledge and has inspired me to do some research and learn more of this area and it's history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Florry

    Wow! This is an amazing historical mystery that let me understand better how interesting the life in Venice was almost five hundred years ago. This is a lovely book about power, money, conspiracies, danger on the streets, murders and love stories in that century, Cavalieri di Malta, Kabbalah, Jewish people, noble people, Universe, time, revelations and many secrets of actual interest. I liked the action and drama in this story, also the whole mystery intrigued me. I guess I liked it most because Wow! This is an amazing historical mystery that let me understand better how interesting the life in Venice was almost five hundred years ago. This is a lovely book about power, money, conspiracies, danger on the streets, murders and love stories in that century, Cavalieri di Malta, Kabbalah, Jewish people, noble people, Universe, time, revelations and many secrets of actual interest. I liked the action and drama in this story, also the whole mystery intrigued me. I guess I liked it most because of the real characters that once lived in Venice, and their mysterious lives. I appreciate the references and the whole information at the end of the book. That was helpful for me. Thank you for the great book! I would be happy to read another book by Alastair Fontana, because they are well written and page turners! There are many quotes I found interesting. Here are just some that I want to share: “Everyone is born one way and stays that way for the rest of his life. Changes are only superficial, never deep.” “Our soul is given to us on the day of our birth, and we give it back, identical, on the day of our last breath.” “Uniformity makes things disappear.” “We are often scared by complexity and we try to avoid it, but in reality the most deadly traps are delightfully simple.” “Things have to be organized in logical and coherent system in order to make sense.” “Chaos and randomness are just signs of weakness.” “A metaphor is an image created by the mind to reduce reality to a simpler form.” “Ideas are primitive tools, and, in fact, are the most dangerous devices ever invented by the verbal attitude of the human mind.” “Time is the most incorruptible of the elements, even more so than gold.” “Power and money have no shame, nor piety.” “...time is just an illusion, and nothing actually changes.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Alastair Fontana has crafted a wonderful tale of historical fiction, set in Venice in or around the sixteenth century. The story is set around real historical characters and real historical events. The only character that wasn't a real historical person was the main character, Jacopo. Told in alternating chapters of first person and third person, this story is captivating. It includes action, murder, betrayal, scandalous liaisons, and tragedy. It is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying Alastair Fontana has crafted a wonderful tale of historical fiction, set in Venice in or around the sixteenth century. The story is set around real historical characters and real historical events. The only character that wasn't a real historical person was the main character, Jacopo. Told in alternating chapters of first person and third person, this story is captivating. It includes action, murder, betrayal, scandalous liaisons, and tragedy. It is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying. The story begins with our Jacopo being chased down for a murder that he claims he did not commit. As the story unfolds, we learn that the murder had been discovered as he and his soon-to-be brother-in-law, were returning an ornate dagger that he and his sister's fiance, Piero Fasiol, were allegedly returning to the spot where Piero had allegedly found it. When they got there, there was a dead body in the spot. A couple who knew Piero saw him holding the dagger, and urged him to run, but he was captured. Jacopo eventually got away and ran for help, to a place known as The Ghetto, a refuge for Jews in sixteenth century Venice. There are many twists and turns as we follow this story through the aptly named "Aquatic Labyrinth" which is Venice. One of the most fascinating of the historical characters in The Aquatic Labyrinth was Veronica Franco, a rather famous courtesan of the time, who was also a poet. She was friends (in our story) with another poet, also a true historical character, named Sara Copio Sullam. Also figuring heavily into this story was Leone da Modena (Leon of Modena), a Jewish scholar who was born to a French family who had moved to Venice when the Jews were expelled from France. As I said, a captivating story that held me in its grip from the very beginning. I am anxious to read more historical fiction by this author.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rach Kaup

    I wish to go to Venice one day to explore the city and ride on a gondola! This book was rather good. Yes, there are lengthy paragraphs and so if you are one who likes to get through a book in a short amount of time, you will be skim reading a lot. I liked the information Alastair gave in the paragraphs, but I must confess that I skim read through some of the paragraphs. The book had some good twists to it, a couple of things I could predict, but I couldn't predict EVERYTHING. I love mysteries and I wish to go to Venice one day to explore the city and ride on a gondola! This book was rather good. Yes, there are lengthy paragraphs and so if you are one who likes to get through a book in a short amount of time, you will be skim reading a lot. I liked the information Alastair gave in the paragraphs, but I must confess that I skim read through some of the paragraphs. The book had some good twists to it, a couple of things I could predict, but I couldn't predict EVERYTHING. I love mysteries and I grew up with the Queen of plot twists, Agatha Christie. This book was very good and I liked the characters. The author made you believe that one thing about a character but at the end it was not so. The ending still has me a little baffled but my brain is slowly wrapping around the ending. It was an interesting book and a good book if you would like a slow, relaxing, but intense book. You may skim through a few things but there is still juicy information and background, murders, mysteries tied into the story involving different characters, a little bit of romance, but not so much that the pages are dripping with mush. For parents or anyone who would like to know some actual insight into the book, there was no real cursing, the F bomb wasn't dropped at all in the story. SHOCKER! But there are some gruesome scenes, not too much detail but you still feel the pain of the character and sadness. Sex is implied here and there but it isn't like a cheap romance novel where every single thing is depicted. So the sex doesn't ruin the book or story line at all. I hope everyone enjoys this review and please, don't take my words for it is only my opinions of the story. Read it for yourself, you cannot base a book off of someone else's reviews.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jada Ryker

    The Aquatic Labyrinth is a story hidden inside the cover of an ancient manuscript, dating back to the fourteenth century. Jacopo is the son of an English seaman. His father met Jacopo’s mother when she helped him escape imprisonment. Jacopo became a ship’s captain, with his home base in Genoa. He comes back to Venice due to his sister’s engagement. Unfortunately, his sister’s fiancée has found a valuable artifact, which leads to a dead body and the fiancée’s arrest. Set upon by three thugs in Veni The Aquatic Labyrinth is a story hidden inside the cover of an ancient manuscript, dating back to the fourteenth century. Jacopo is the son of an English seaman. His father met Jacopo’s mother when she helped him escape imprisonment. Jacopo became a ship’s captain, with his home base in Genoa. He comes back to Venice due to his sister’s engagement. Unfortunately, his sister’s fiancée has found a valuable artifact, which leads to a dead body and the fiancée’s arrest. Set upon by three thugs in Venice, Jacopo is wounded in a fight. One of the thugs is a face from Jacopo’s past, a miscreant who has vowed to get revenge against Jacopo. Wounded and pursued by the law, Jacopo is unexpectedly in the hands of the disreputable Leone. Throughout the story, Leone seems unsurprised by the twisted events. As a man who believes in randomness and not equations, is he able to divine the future or does he have a more prosaic role in the events? Working against time and his pursuers, Jacopo must save his sister’s fiancée from execution and solve the mystery before he loses his life. The book is an interesting and exciting read, and I found myself turning the pages, eager to see what happens with Jacopo and the other characters, including a mysterious reformed courtesan. In addition to the great story, the historical details of Venice in the 1300’s add color and texture to the novel. With the descriptive style, I felt as if I’d been transported to the glittering sights and sounds of ancient Venice. The chapter headings are lovely. Each chapter is headed with a wonderful picture, reminiscent of detailed wood carvings. I recommend the book, and I predict you’ll find it an interesting and exciting reading experience.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kayla West

    I love any book with a puzzle in it. Something that must be figured out in order to see the whole picture. So it was definitely a no-brainer when I saw this book that I must pick it up and read it. And all in all, I was quite happy with the read. For some reason, to me the beginning kind of scrambled in my head, making it hard to follow. But as I kept reading things became clear and I actually enjoyed the story. In fact, it was quite exquisite. The pictures were breathtaking, and I loved the use I love any book with a puzzle in it. Something that must be figured out in order to see the whole picture. So it was definitely a no-brainer when I saw this book that I must pick it up and read it. And all in all, I was quite happy with the read. For some reason, to me the beginning kind of scrambled in my head, making it hard to follow. But as I kept reading things became clear and I actually enjoyed the story. In fact, it was quite exquisite. The pictures were breathtaking, and I loved the use of Italian in this. Even though I do not understand it, and the translations are put in the back of the book to let the reader know what he or she is reading, I felt that the use of English would have dimmed down the whole experience of the book. The parts in Italian are so much a part of the story as the rest of the book is. They add to the exquisiteness of the book, and they made me feel as if I was truly there in the story listening the lines being said. The concept of the story in itself was phenomenal, and I loved the characters and their backstories and even their memories of other characters and influences of the past. I loved the individual character chapters, giving us parts of a whole to create the whole picture, because of the fact that they did just that. They gradually pieced together the whole story bit by bit and revealed how each character was connected to each other. Because they all influenced each other's personal stories. I would definitely read more work by this author. I was so impressed by this book and its story and just everything that it was about. The world was created beautifully and the characters were each given a voice with which to speak.

  22. 4 out of 5

    S

    Before anything else, i'd just like to say that i am more of a YA dystopian reader and that even though i read classics too, i prefer the former genre... Firstly, i like the title, cover and the blurb of the book. Had me really intrigued and only now do i realize how badly i feel for not winning the paperback giveaway! I LOVED IT. Books like this actually intimidate me for i feel like they'd probably more be appreciated by an audience that are far more mature and intellectual than me but to my surp Before anything else, i'd just like to say that i am more of a YA dystopian reader and that even though i read classics too, i prefer the former genre... Firstly, i like the title, cover and the blurb of the book. Had me really intrigued and only now do i realize how badly i feel for not winning the paperback giveaway! I LOVED IT. Books like this actually intimidate me for i feel like they'd probably more be appreciated by an audience that are far more mature and intellectual than me but to my surprise, it was actually one of those books that had me up until 1 AM because the mystery was absolutely driving me insane. At the first paragraphs, i would be confused by the sudden change of narration but no matter what type of perspective it was, both have grasped the feeling and mood of the characters which i must say is incredible. All the characters were distinct and even Lando, (that mona! teehee) was well-written. It makes me wonder how Mr. Alistair could have possibly written all those characters! Other historical books would've messed up my brain but not this one! And that ending! Very beautifully (just a bit tragically) written. Something tugs at my heart when i recall the ending for ...... Meh. Not gonna spoil anything. :)) This one's a very beautiful book with real characters and a conclusion that will please anyone who'll read it. Had i known that it would be one of those great books then i would've refused to download this on my kindle for free. XD No matter. I will have this book on my shelf someday! :) ** I couldn't wait to review this so here i am, typing away on my phone. I'll just add more to this review once i am on a proper PC~!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This was a great book for people who like historical fiction. There was a lot of info embedded in the text pertaining to Venice and its people. While interesting, it sometimes held up the pace of the actual storyline, though. The plot itself was really good and fast-paced (when not trying to teach the reader various historical facts and philosophies), and the characters were fairly well-drawn. It actually turns out that a lot of them were real people, as I later discovered while reading the note This was a great book for people who like historical fiction. There was a lot of info embedded in the text pertaining to Venice and its people. While interesting, it sometimes held up the pace of the actual storyline, though. The plot itself was really good and fast-paced (when not trying to teach the reader various historical facts and philosophies), and the characters were fairly well-drawn. It actually turns out that a lot of them were real people, as I later discovered while reading the notes and glossary included at the end of the book. Also included at the end were a number of translations for all the Italian text throughout the novel. Having the Italian bits in the text contributed to an authentic Venetian experience, but slowed down my reading experience. If I had have been reading a hard copy of the book, it wouldn't have been a problem, because I could have easily flipped back and forth between story and glossary. As it was, however, I read this on my (old) kindle, which didn't have links to translations embedded in the text (maybe they're not included in newer editions, either; I don't know). I therefore read all the translations when I was done reading the narrative. While the plot and history were both fun to read, what really held me up while reading was the poor editing/proofreading. There were grammatical errors, misused words, word flow problems, etc. I spent more time mentally editing and watching for future typos than I did immersing myself in the story. If this element of the book had have been better, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pulling Down

    The author was kind enough to contact me and offer me the chance of reading this most exquisite book. It was such a wonderful read that I find myself lacking the appropriate words needed to describe it. The historical part of the novel is so well researched and incorporated into the novel that you find yourself feeling as if you are indeed in Venice, walking along the paths followed by the characters, listening to the sounds of the city... All the characters but one are real time people from Veni The author was kind enough to contact me and offer me the chance of reading this most exquisite book. It was such a wonderful read that I find myself lacking the appropriate words needed to describe it. The historical part of the novel is so well researched and incorporated into the novel that you find yourself feeling as if you are indeed in Venice, walking along the paths followed by the characters, listening to the sounds of the city... All the characters but one are real time people from Venice who in one way or another influenced the course of its history. You get to know them, even in passing, and at the end of the book (if not before) you find yourself wanting to know more about them, learn their history and their importance in the whole scheme. Though I am not a huge fan of philosophical issues, more practical in the mind and less patient for such things, I found myself immersed in the many thoughts of the characters and the author which played a crucial part in the development of the story. Even at the end, having reached a conclusion to the murder mystery, a surprise remains that will leave you wondering, more thoughtful than when you started the book. The Aquatic Labyrinth has been quite an experience that will not soon be forgotten. And hopefully we'll get to see more from this author, whose ability to make you visualize what you are reading as well as opening up your mind to new possibilities and thoughts are a welcome reprieve from stereotypical stories, mysteries or otherwise.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Lundgren

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Due to eye problems I am late with it, and apologies to all concerned. This is first and foremost an historical thriller/mystery. Set in Venice, one of the most fascinating cities in the world, in the 14th century, it is a period piece, much like Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose. The historical detail, and description, as far as I can tell, is well-researched, and even the outlay of the book itself, with illustrations and such, give I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Due to eye problems I am late with it, and apologies to all concerned. This is first and foremost an historical thriller/mystery. Set in Venice, one of the most fascinating cities in the world, in the 14th century, it is a period piece, much like Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose. The historical detail, and description, as far as I can tell, is well-researched, and even the outlay of the book itself, with illustrations and such, gives it the feel of a more ancient manuscript. I won't summarize the plot as that is everywhere, but I can say that the characters were well-drawn, and interesting, which is essential in a book to me. The mystery was intricately plotted and added much to the overall gothic feel of old Venice. whose canals create the labyrinth. My rating of a 4 versus a 5 is due to the heavy reliance on historical facts and details, and the Italian parts of the book. They tend to pull me out of a story. That is not just this book, but any book that has much substance. By nature I prefer more action to fact, although he did do a great job of world-building or in this case recreating a world. Would recommend for any who enjoy works such as The Name of the Rose, Kate Mosse, and even Ellis Peters medieval monk series. Great start for this budding writer.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really enjoyed the pace of the story, and the action scenes were well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of Venice, and the details on the culture of the time. It seemed like the author put some good research time into cultural customs and details of the day, and pointed out some of them specifically to show that although methods and technology may have changed, a lot is still the same. One illustration in particular is where the courtesan decides to spend the day sunbathing and dy I really enjoyed the pace of the story, and the action scenes were well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of Venice, and the details on the culture of the time. It seemed like the author put some good research time into cultural customs and details of the day, and pointed out some of them specifically to show that although methods and technology may have changed, a lot is still the same. One illustration in particular is where the courtesan decides to spend the day sunbathing and dying her hair. I never think about ancient cultures spending time on cosmetic stuff - but I thought it was really neat that the author went into specific details about the process of an ancient beautification process. My primary issues with the book were just with formatting - I read the Kindle edition. There are a ton of Italian words, phrases, songs, poems, etc., and there's a glossary for them at the end, but this Kindle book does not have a table of contents to be able to easily navigate to the glossary unless you know the location number. Also, on a minor note, there were a few editing errors - words transposed in sentences, missing words, or uses of incorrect words (then instead of than). Overall, a good read - especially for fans of historical fiction.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Sethi

    I enjoyed this story! It's a cliff-hanger murder mystery that is pulsed with generous doses of suspense and philosophical riddles. But what makes this story unique is it's setting - enchanting Venice, its complex history, religious influence and renaissance philosophy..... the intricacy of this backdrop is brought to life in a rather picturesque way that had me captivated. I read this book on my Kindle Paperwhite, so unfortunately wasn't able to relish the fine pictures and imagery in this book I enjoyed this story! It's a cliff-hanger murder mystery that is pulsed with generous doses of suspense and philosophical riddles. But what makes this story unique is it's setting - enchanting Venice, its complex history, religious influence and renaissance philosophy..... the intricacy of this backdrop is brought to life in a rather picturesque way that had me captivated. I read this book on my Kindle Paperwhite, so unfortunately wasn't able to relish the fine pictures and imagery in this book - I might get my hands on a hard copy just for that! Through the story, the author often refers to specific locations in Venice. I wish that the author referred more to the historic map of venice that he shared at the very start of the book. By referring to specific legends of the map, the author could have taken the reader through a crime-solving ride through the canals and alleys of venice, like a partner in this journey ... this would have taken the experiential appeal of this story up a notch. But overall, this was a very interesting read and big congratulations to the author on a fantastic debut novel!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julius Slighterman

    I admit I expected something else when I started to read The Aquatic Labyrinth. I like fast paced action, mysteries, suspense. While certainly there's mystery in this book, the pace was too slow for me. Reading this story was out of my comfort zone. This being said, I put on my "history novel" glasses, and try to evaluate the book from that perspective. There are a lot of interesting details concerning the history of Venice, as well as about politics, religion and society. For someone who likes hi I admit I expected something else when I started to read The Aquatic Labyrinth. I like fast paced action, mysteries, suspense. While certainly there's mystery in this book, the pace was too slow for me. Reading this story was out of my comfort zone. This being said, I put on my "history novel" glasses, and try to evaluate the book from that perspective. There are a lot of interesting details concerning the history of Venice, as well as about politics, religion and society. For someone who likes historical fiction those parts would be really enjoyable. I liked the author's style and the authentic voice. The characters were vivid, and the descriptions detailed, as if I walked on the streets of Venice. Unfortunately I don't speak Italian, so I would have preferred if the translations were placed right after the Italian poems. I'm a "right to the point" type of guy, and I rarely understand symbolism nor philosophy. So the part where Sara was lamenting about metaphors was far from me. I suppose, a more philosophic mind would appreciate it more. As I said, this book is not for me, but having ages of reading experience I can tell that it's worth its price.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    A very interesting murder mystery set in Venice about the sixteenth century. The story is set around real historical characters and events except for Jacopo. The story moved along with intrigue, conspiracy, politics, murder,tragedy and the history of the places where the scene occur. Jacopo returns to Venice for a visit to his sister and her fiance. The fiancé gets Jacopo involved with a murder. We get to see the labyrinth of Venice when Jacopo flees capture while proving his and the fiance’s inn A very interesting murder mystery set in Venice about the sixteenth century. The story is set around real historical characters and events except for Jacopo. The story moved along with intrigue, conspiracy, politics, murder,tragedy and the history of the places where the scene occur. Jacopo returns to Venice for a visit to his sister and her fiance. The fiancé gets Jacopo involved with a murder. We get to see the labyrinth of Venice when Jacopo flees capture while proving his and the fiance’s innocence. But will it be in time to save them both? Along the way Jacopo meets several colorful, complicated characters that add to the intensity of the story: the courtesan, the poet, the doctor, the scholar. Each chapter begins with an unique picture to set the scene. There is a lot of information about labyrinth’s which was well researched by the author. If you enjoy historical fiction, mystery and Italy, you will want to read this book!! I got a free kindle download of this book by the invitation of the author. The review is my own opinion.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Srivardhan

    (Spoiler Alert) I got this books kindle version for free from amazon. As I was one who had applied for give aways, Alaister gave me Kindle version. People who know about Venice history might be able to appreciate it. As a thriller it was just OK. I would have liked it if the protagonist had solved the mastery by himself rather than some fellow who had predicted the events some centuries back!!!! And if using other language words better give the meaning next to it in the bracket or at the bottom (Spoiler Alert) I got this books kindle version for free from amazon. As I was one who had applied for give aways, Alaister gave me Kindle version. People who know about Venice history might be able to appreciate it. As a thriller it was just OK. I would have liked it if the protagonist had solved the mastery by himself rather than some fellow who had predicted the events some centuries back!!!! And if using other language words better give the meaning next to it in the bracket or at the bottom of the page. Though I liked that Doge was the planner of murder in the climax didn't like the way he was caught. Someone coming n telling we heard u!!!! Doge being powerful should've known tat people can hear him outside. Doge need not have explained everything in the 1st place!!!! It would come as surprise in the last chapter when Sara explains how she cracked the case. Someone saw future n so left some complex clues to stop what he saw!!!!

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