Mystery and intrigue in Venice are the backdrop for Rob Samborn's debut novel about souls trapped in Tintoretto's Paradise and a Venetian secret society. Today Rob and I chatted about his book The Prisoner of Paradise, and how he chose Venice and Tintoretto's Paradise painting in the Palazzo Ducale for the book's setting and theme.
About Rob Samborn
Rob Samborn is a screenwriter turned novelist, entrepreneur and passionate traveler. Rob is a native New Yorker, and lived in Los Angeles for several decades before moving to Denver where he lives with his wife Tiffani and daughter Sienna.
Find Rob on his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Prisoner of Paradise
The book takes place in Venice and switches back-and-forth between the present day and the late 16th century. It's a mystery cum time travel. The present day main character Nick is also Angelo Mascari from the 16th century. Nick is torn between his life with his wife and soulmate Julia and his life as Angelo Mascari with Isabella Scalfini. It's only when Nick travels to Venice and lays eyes on Tintoretto's Paradise and a woman in the painting, Isabella, that he's transported back to his life with her as Angelo Mascari.
The book has plenty of mystery, suspense and intrigue on how the souls became trapped in Tintoretto's painting. If you enjoy mystery, time travel, secret society intrigue and fantasy, and you love Venice you'll have fun with this book.
The Venice canals, narrow calle and winter fog add to the sense of intrigue in the book.
This is the first book in a series of three and book two is scheduled for an October 2022 publication. After this series of three books Rob envisions other books in the series. He'd also love to see them turned into a multi-season television series. For now he's looking forward to the publication of book two in October and is currently writing book three.
You can find The Prisoner of Paradise on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.
Tintoretto and Paradise
Tintoretto was a 16th century Italian painter identified with the Venetian school. He's known as Tintoretto because his father was a dyer - tintore - but his real name is Jacopo Robusti. Tintoretto was admired by his contemporaries for his painting speed and energy so they nicknamed him Il Furioso (the Furious Painter). His work is everywhere in Venice, mostly the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) where Paradise is located, and Scuola Grande di San Rocco (School of St. Roche). Some of Tintoretto's paintings are speckled throughout Venice in churches: Santa Maria Mater Domini, San Trovaso, San Cassiano, San Polo, Saint Roche.
The Paradise depicts the crowning of Mary in heaven and every character imaginable from the Bible is in the painting, along with other characters as well. One of these characters became the imaginary character Isabella Scalfini in Rob Samborn's The Prisoner of Paradise. There are over 1000 characters depicted in the painting and it's the largest painting in the world.
If you love Venice then you'll enjoy this post and podcast episode with native Venetian Monica Cesarato, the Flavor of Venice.
Did you know that Verona and Venice are both in the Veneto region? The Veneto region is the largest wine producing region in Italy and one winery dates back 700 years and was formed by Dante Alighieri and his son. Find out all about it here.
Rob Samborn mentions baccalà in his book The Prisoner of Paradise - classic, delicious and quintessentially Venetian. If you're subscribed to my Substack newsletter then you'll have already seen my delicious historic recipe this week for Baccalà Mantecato. Not subscribed yet? Head to this link.
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