The Sword of Venice
Dunne, Dec 2007, $25.95
In Venice the rivalry between the powerful Ziani and Soranzo clans seems over after generational feuding that hurt both families by enabling lesser adversaries to almost surpass each of them and came close to allowing the Turks to take the city. Instead the respective patriarchs Antonio Ziani and Giovanni Soranzo buried the hatchet and came together to defend Venice (see THE LION OF ST. MARK). They both believe the deadly feud is a thing of the past as the two families need each other to thwart the Turks, other city states, and new upstart Venetian clans wanting to claim the top rung from them by dividing these enemies who have become allies.
However, neither Antonio nor Giovanni understood the deep hatred they educated their offspring with. Soranzo's adopted son Enrico loathes Ziani’s heir the war hero Constantine. When they compete for the affection of the daughter of a senator, Maria Mocenigo, the dispute regains momentum especially when she chooses Constantine. Outraged by her rejection and selection, Enrico hires an assassin to kill Constantine at a time that the league of Italian city states is angry with the Venetians over their peace treaty with the Turks. As the other city-states attack, the two families must come together at land and at sea or face destruction once again.
The second book of the Venetians is a fascinating Renaissance tale that provides the audience a deep look at one of the more powerful Italian city-states at a time when invaders from the Ottoman Turks and the rival city-states threaten Venice. The storyline is fast-paced and quite deep in a historical context; however, the key family rivals, Enrico and Constantine seem one dimensional especially when compared with the “greatest generation” of their fathers and for that matter Constantine in the first tale. Readers who enjoy traveling to a long ago setting will appreciate the rich historical texture of THE SWORD OF VENICE as the history comes before the cast.