Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Sword of Venice-Thomas Quinn

The Sword of Venice
Thomas Quinn
Dunne, Dec 2007, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312319106

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.

Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

safasf said...

5
去年下半年以來的 酒店工作金融海嘯,不僅讓市井小民壓力沉重, 酒店上班就連專營高檔客層的精品商家,也都面臨不小的壓力, 寒假打工
甚至無力負擔商圈的房租,市場瀰漫著一股悲觀的氣氛。


隨著股市、房市 暑假打工的熱絡氣象,外界預期一些辛苦經營的精品店面、 酒店PT商圈,將順勢而起,不過,熟悉大台北商圈的欣元商仲總經理焦文華直言,目 禮服酒店前精品業者的經營還相當艱困,景氣反轉的力道並不如外界預期。


焦文華分析,精品商圈 兼差的經營,確實還是面臨消費力不足的困境。目前消費者物價指數已連續兩個月負成長(六、七月份),具體反映出消費力衰退的現象,高檔的珠寶、手錶、服飾等精品市場感受更深,部分店家業績 打工,更是過去高峰期的三分之一,業者稱得上是「苦撐待變」。


永慶店面事業部 台北酒店經紀經理李元鳳表示,精品商圈在金融海 酒店經紀嘯中確實面臨很大的壓力,且當時都無法預期景氣何時好轉 酒店打工,耗費數百萬元的裝潢成本,更迫使業者無法輕言放棄。以當時的天母SOGO商圈為例,就算距離天母SOG 酒店兼差O百貨的開幕已經不到半年的時間,但周邊店面的空置率仍高達二十%,顯示屋主與業者都存有濃厚的觀望心態,這 酒店兼職與過去市場會提前反映利多現象有顯著差異。


雖然精品業者辛苦經營,但是從喝花酒永慶店面事業部的統計數據來看,五大精品商圈的空置率在今年上半年皆有明顯下降,但是積極展店的業種,卻是以餐飲、零售等微利事業體,精品商圈交際應酬的「精品氣氛」,已逐漸稀釋。


不僅精品商圈的味道變了,過去勇於投資精品商圈的粉味投資客,追價的力道同樣大不如前。李元鳳表示,以台北市最廣為人知的「晶華酒店商圈」為例酒店喝酒,售價從二○○八年曾出現的每坪三百萬元的高檔價格,到今年平均一百八十萬至兩百五十萬元的水準,雖然店租行情波動不大,但也反映出目前買方出價的「保守」。


徐佳馨表示,從空置率數據來看,與去年狀況極差的第四季相比 酒店,精品商圈的空置率都出現明顯的下降,但由於各界對於景氣是否反彈仍有疑慮,因此就算租金與售價已開始蠢動,但是否能夠真實反映市場實況,仍存有許多變數。