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The Aquatic Labyrinth: a Venetian mystery by [Fontana, Alastair]
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The Aquatic Labyrinth: a Venetian mystery Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Length: 327 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"This book is a gem." - Patti Wilson,  Amazon reviewer.
"Mystery, romance, history - what a wonderful story." - Topaz Tije, Amazon reviewer.
"The pictures were breathtaking" - Kayla West, author.
"Fontana does a wonderful job building complex, believable characters." - Carrie Ann Lahain, Writer and Editor.
"It's a cliff-hanger murder mystery that is pulsed with generous doses of suspense and philosophical riddles." - Sonia Sethi, Amazon reviewer.
"The pace of the book kept everything moving" - L, Amazon reviewer.
"The characters were vivid, and the descriptions detailed, as if I walked on the streets of Venice." Julius Butcher, author.
"Not the usual murder mystery." - Beverly, Amazon reviewer.
"I was sucked in all the action and drama and couldn't keep the book down until I had finished reading it." Njkinny, Amazon reviewer.
"A captivating story that held me in its grip from the very beginning." - J. Bickley, Amazon reviewer.
"If you want to read the book you will not want to hold off even after reading the last sentence, choose this one." - Jana Kadlecova, Amazon reviewer.
"Very rarely does a historical novel move along with such fast-paced twists and turns."- Teri English, Amazon reviewer.
"It is a great book and you must read it." - Viriginia W. Williams, Amazon reviewer.
"It's been a long time since someone wrote a story that would have the ability to carry me away like that." - Lina, Amazon reviewer.
"Spellbinding; Magical; Intriguing; Holds your interest; Can't be put down;" - Fran, Amazon reviewer.

About the Author

Alastair Fontana spent most of his life between Europe and America. He was educated in Italy and has lived in such diverse places as Madison, Lausanne, Brussels, and San Francisco, among others. He is articulate in English, Italian, and French. He likes traveling and loves writing. Among his interests are visual art, photography, and cooking.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3602 KB
  • Print Length: 327 pages
  • Publisher: ARTSEDIMENTS PUBLISHING; 1 edition (January 20, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 20, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,357 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Aquatic Labyrinth is a story which was 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was a free book & a quick read -- those are the 2 best things I can say about this book.

At first it was a bit confusing when it switched between the 1st person & 3rd person voices, but once I figured out how it was written, it was OK.

The worst offense is the mish-mash of time periods. There were characters & references in the book that spanned the 1300s (the Doge, who was a character in the story) to Kepler (early 1600s) & Da Vinci (late 1400s - early 1500s), etc. If this was supposed to take place at the time of Doge Faliero, they certainly wouldn't mention Da Vinci, nor would someone emigrate to Brazil. When reading through the glossary & section of historical figures at the end of the book, it was clear that the author took great liberties with time. There were references to foods (gefilte fish & matzoh ball soup) that didn't exist then, as well as clothing & furniture styles from many different periods. I really had no idea when this was supposed to have taken place. I know that the Foreward addresses these inconsistencies to an extent (the Codex Macianus), but it just made reading the book confusing.

The sheer number of errors was mind-boggling. Doesn't anyone proofread any more or understand the fundamentals of English? These were not esoteric rules, mind you, just sloppiness and/or ignorance (and the author has a Ph.D.?)

Having a comprehensive glossary at the end of the book was helpful, but it would have been a lot more practical if links to the entries had been embedded in the text.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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