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Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Rob Samborn and The Prisoner of Paradise my Coffee Pot Guest

Welcome to my Blog!
Wander through wonderful worlds
real and fictional,
meet interesting people,
visit exciting places
and find a few good books
to enjoy along the way!

The Prisoner of Paradise is my debut novel, published by TouchPoint Press.

When Nick & Julia O’Connor, an American couple, travel to Venice, Italy on holiday, Nick comes to believe that his true soul mate is not his wife, but a woman trapped in the world’s largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries he suffers from delusions, Nick discovers a secret society that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls whom they deem to be evil. They imprison those souls in Paradise, painted by Jacopo Tintoretto in the 16th century. Nick goes on a quest to save his soul mate from eternal purgatory but liberating her means freeing all the souls—something the secret society will never let happen.


The whole of the book is set in Venice. Constructed of 120 manmade islands and 177 canals, Venice is like nowhere else on Earth and is not only a location in The Prisoner of Paradise, but a character.

At times a protagonist and other times an antagonist, Nick and Julia are often lost in the maze-like city, as they need to navigate the bridges and narrow alleys as much as they need to navigate the multiple obstacles put in the way of their goals.

Venice is one of the most picturesque cities on the planet, from the world-famous gondoliers and architecture to tiny squares surrounded by five-hundred-year-old buildings that are sinking in a slow death. Julia is a photographer and never fails to capture a moment.

As the characters delve deeper in their adventure, they explore additional locations in Venice, including these incredible places:

The Doge’s Palace


Known in Italian as Il Palazzo Ducale, The Doge’s Palace is a thousand-year-old building located on the edge of St. Mark’s Square. Now a museum, it was once the seat of government of the Venetian Republic. It was home to the doge (the elected leader), as well as the meeting place for senators, making it a combination of the United States Capitol Building and the White House—but four times as old.

Salvatore della Porta, the antagonist of the book, is the director of the museum. He takes his job incredibly seriously and treats the building like his treasured home—if not castle.

The Doge’s Palace is also the location of the painting Paradise. Spanning an entire wall of the Great Council Room, what used to be the largest room in all of Europe, Paradise is seventy-five feet wide by forty feet high, situated twelve feet off the floor.

The massive room is covered in Renaissance art and enthralls Nick and Julia, who have never seen anything like it.

But it’s Paradise—or more specifically, a woman in Paradise—who mesmerizes Nick.

The Biennale

The Venice Biennale is the location and name of a biannual art exhibition hosting the world’s top contemporary art. Established in 1895, it’s one of the most prestigious art events in the world.

Since the Biennale features contemporary art—much of it experimental and avant-garde—it’s juxtaposed with the omnipresent Renaissance art located elsewhere in the city

Venice is a city of dualities and duality is very much a theme of the book.

Julia is a fine arts photographer with a photograph in the exhibition. She’s over the moon about this potential leap forward in her career, but when she meets with a New York gallery owner, Nick is lured to the woman in Paradise

Poveglia Island

Image attribution: Marco Usan, CC BY 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the Venetian Lagoon between Venice and the Italian mainland, Poveglia Island is known as the world’s most haunted island. Infamous for its abandoned mental institution, Poveglia is even more notorious for housing the world’s first plague hospital and quarantine building for the plague-ravaged terminally ill.

Venice is no stranger to plagues. Venetians have been using masks for centuries and the word ‘quarantine’ comes from the Venetian word for ‘forty,’ which was the number of days required for quarantine to avoid the spread of illness.

At one point in the book, Nick is on the run with a man who has questionable motives. That man takes Nick to Poveglia to hide out and spend the night. Hiding amongst the ruins of a mental institution that used to be a plague hospital on the world’s most haunted island isn’t exactly a luxury resort.

To learn more about The Prisoner of Paradise or to find purchase locations, 


About the book
The world’s largest oil painting. A 400-year-old murder. A disembodied whisper: “Amore mio.” My love.

Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, a monumental depiction of Heaven. Convinced his delusions are the result of a concussion, Julia insists her husband see a doctor, though Nick is adamant the voice was real.

Blacking out in the museum, Nick flashes back to a life as a 16th century Venetian peasant swordsman. He recalls precisely who the voice belongs to: Isabella Scalfini, a married aristocrat he was tasked to seduce but with whom he instead found true love. A love stolen from them hundreds of years prior.

She implores Nick to liberate her from a powerful order of religious vigilantes who judge and sentence souls to the canvas for eternity. Releasing Isabella also means unleashing thousands of other imprisoned souls, all of which the order claims are evil.

As infatuation with a possible hallucination clouds his commitment to a present-day wife, Nick’s past self takes over. Wracked with guilt, he can no longer allow Isabella to remain tormented, despite the consequences. He must right an age-old wrong – destroy the painting and free his soul mate. But the order will eradicate anyone who threatens their ethereal prison and their control over Venice.

Trigger Warnings.
Violence, a rape scene, a torture scene.

Buy Links:

Apple Books: 
Barnes & Noble: 

About the Author 

In addition to being a novelist, Rob Samborn is a screenwriter, entrepreneur and avid traveler. He’s been to forty countries, lived in five of them and studied nine languages. As a restless spirit who can’t remember the last time he was bored, Rob is on a quest to explore the intricacies of our world and try his hand at a multitude of crafts; he’s also an accomplished artist and musician, as well as a budding furniture maker. A native New Yorker who lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, he now makes his home in Denver with his wife, daughter and dog. 

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Twitter Handle: @robsamborn @maryanneyarde
Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #MagicalRealism #Thrillers #tintoretto #venice #UnlockThePast #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

note: Helen has not yet read this title - it is on her TBR list though!

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