Venice at the end of the 1500s is an unforgiving city. The Doge rules with an iron fist and the Holy Office harbors suspicions about everything and everyone. Even the walls have eyes. The Republic of Venice watches and listens, then passes judgment swiftly and definitively.
In a city where everyone is assumed guilty of something, a young stonemason by the name of Michele has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Afraid for his life, he flees the city aboard a galley carrying gold coin, leaving behind his young wife, Bianca. Banished from his home, Michele embarks on a series of extraordinary adventures as the ship he travels on stops in every port and on every island of the Mediterranean. In order to survive this once naïve and immature boy must fast become a man, one possessed of cunning, courage and fortitude.
Bianca remains alone in the cruel and treacherous Venice. She faces challenges that are, if anything, even more difficult than those of Michele, and will encounter all the terrors and mysteries that the labyrinthine city holds in its blind alleys and narrow passageways. And she, like Michele, will discover in herself a tenacious and indestructible will to survive.
Land and sea, East and West, the arrogance of power and the indestructible pride of the poor and dispossessed. Two lives and one all embracing love. As richly imagined as Orhan Pamuk’s The White Castle, The Eyes of Venice is a grand and gripping tale of love and adventure that will also appeal to fans of the historical novels of Umberto Eco and Susan Dunant.
Alessandro Barbero is the author of The Battle: A New History of Waterloo (Atlantic Books), Other People’s Wars, winner of the Strega Prize for Fiction, and The Eyes of Venice (Europa, 2012).
He is a renowned historian whose two-volume history of the Battle of Lepanto is considered to be the definitive text on the subject. He teaches Medieval History at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Vercelli, Italy.