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The Lion of St. Mark
by Thomas Quinn

Category: Fiction / Historical
320 pages; ISBN: 0312319088

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Lion of St. Mark
Thomas Quinn
Dunne, Jul 2005, $24.95, 320 pp.
ISBN: 0312319088

In the fifteenth century, marine commander Antonio Ziani and Giovanni Soranzo are rival Venetians who hate one another. Giovanni believes that Antonio’s careless regard for safety by attacking impenetrable Ottoman positions cost the life of his brother. He plans vengeance, but first they must fight off the Ottomans who threaten Venetian business life on the high seas and ultimately Venice itself.

While both continue the war against the nasty invaders, they also work business deals whenever a respite occurs. It is during these lulls that the two enemies pick up their adversarial relationship by trying to destroy the other when Antonio is not a prisoner of war. When the Ottomans return, they and other Venetians put aside their avarice business interests to unite in a war that seems to have no final solution except perhaps the trashing of Venice if those who already have conquered Byzantium have their way.

Though interesting especially the powerful use of real events and persona and well written, the Ottomans are depicted as totally evil while the Venetians may worship business as their “God” are ethical (no oxymoron jokes about ethical business men – my brother-in-law is one). The story line grips the audience as the Venetians battle against overwhelming odds to save their lifestyle and city even putting aside feuds like those in Romeo and Juliet. Keeping in mind the obvious bent of the story line that to the victors go the historical fiction, THE LION OF ST. MARK provides readers with an interesting look at a fifteenth century culture clash.

Harriet Klausner


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