Promo: The Prisoner of Paradise by Rob Samborn
Join me today as I share an intriguing excerpt from The Prisoner of Paradise, a historical timeslip adventure by Rob Samborn.
The Prisoner of Paradise is currently on blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club. Make sure to check out all the other exciting stops on the tour!
The Prisoner of Paradise
The Paradise Series, Book 1
Commercial Thriller, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
All physical reactions were a result of emotion, whether true or fabricated—this Angelo knew. He had studied De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi, written by the fencing master Filippo Vadi nearly one hundred years prior. Angelo’s current master, Salvator Fabris, often disagreed with Vadi, but Angelo always felt it was due to a gripe with Vadi’s admiration of Ducale da Montefeltro. One tactic Master Fabris agreed with was a man’s control of his emotions, particularly a heightened sense of awareness and rational capacity in the face of mortal danger. These fundamental tenets were critical in the art of sword fighting, and Angelo found himself with such sensations now.
Unfortunately, he did not have his rapier.
As the next blow came to his gut, he buckled over and dropped to his knees, landing in a light frost from the overnight flurry. His breath punctuated the crisp air.
“Enough,” said the older man with long gray hair, a fur-lined coat, and red leather shoes with heels that bore him up three fingers from the ground. Leon Costa held a black walking stick bearing a carved ivory hare’s head that had beady red eyes—a fitting accessory for a distasteful man known to scamper away from the slightest danger. He tapped the cane against the cobblestones. The two ruffians pummeling Angelo stepped aside, allowing the older man to stand over him. “We don’t want to incapacitate the overgrown urchin,” Costa said, baring surprisingly straight white teeth. “He’s no good to us convalescing. Beating you, Mascari, is akin to being fellated by a dog.”
“Siòr,” Angelo managed, his breath visible in the early December air. He clasped his hands in a plea. “I promise you. I shall have your money in two bouts.”
“If you win, that shan’t be enough to cover what is owed.”
“Master Fabris forbids my only means for a larger purse. What am I to do?”
“You are to do what it takes. I am your master. You do what I say.”
“Siòr Costa,” a voice called from the alley entrance.
The Bird Brothers approached them.
“Siòri Uccello,” Costa said with a deep bow. “I paid the tithe this morning.”
“I trust it was received,” Vito replied. “That’s not why we’re here.”
“Then to what do I owe the pleasure?” Costa asked with a nervous grin.
“If you are seeking pleasure,” Ivan said, “you’ll find it at your usual brothel. You’re late, are you not?”
“I have business here with this man.”
“Angelo Mascari’s business is now our business,” Ivan said, taking a step forward.
Costa’s henchmen instantly positioned themselves to protect their capo. “Are you demented?” the little man said to them. He brushed them aside before raising his hand in apology to the brothers. “I beseech thee, siòri,” he said. “Mascari—”
Vito joined Ivan and glared at Costa.
“As you wish,” Costa said, bowing again. With that, he led his men out of the alley and disappeared.
“Gràssie, siòri,” Angelo said, getting to his feet. He bowed with deep humility. “How can I thank you?”
Ivan lifted Angelo’s head by his chin. “We’ll get to that. Do you know us?”
“Sì,” Angelo said. “What I mean is I know of you. Of your… positions.”
“I am Ivan Uccello, and this is my brother, Vito.”
Angelo bowed again.
“It seems income from your profession has come at an unacceptable trickle,” Vito said. “Am I not correct, Angelo?”
Angelo studied the two, curious as to what purpose such men of prestige had involved themselves in his affairs.
“We know all about your debt to Costa,” Vito continued. “You convinced him with your great talent that you’d soon be able to repay him for your rapier and training expenditures. Salvator Fabris does not come cheap.”
“I did not need to convince him,” Angelo retorted. “He is as confident as I in my abilities and what they will bring.”
“Why wouldn’t you be cocksure?” Ivan asked. “You dream of riches and advancing your station. You show phenomenal promise but have yet to prove yourself. A few ducats in local night matches isn’t cutting it, is it? Perhaps you thought Costa would be more patient.”
Angelo fought hard to maintain his outward calm and conceal his true sentiments. How did these men know this? Costa had been pushing him to enter European tournaments. The purse was generous, but Master Fabris felt he wasn’t ready. Angelo agreed. One loss or injury would be devastating for his young career. He brushed the dirty snow off his breeches and pulled himself to full height. “What business is it of yours, my finances?”
Ivan chuckled and sized Angelo up with his small, dark eyes. “Angelo, we find you here, bruised and beaten in the literal gutter of life. We are well aware of your destitution, and we’d like to help. You do not want to betray Master Fabris, but if you do not, you cannot repay Costa.”
“Ah, what a bind,” Vito said.
“Costa will continue to demand payback, and you will be left without a single coin, nothing but a fading reputation of unfulfilled glory to revisit in your poor nights. Now”—Ivan continued with an exaggerated hand wave—“that would be a shame. The world will have lost a great swordsman if you’re obliged to pull out of the sport. Perhaps it is inevitable…” He studied Angelo’s face and clucked his tongue. “But perhaps not. We have a proposition for you. A solution that will benefit us all.”
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.
Violence, a rape scene, a torture scene.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09F8RYG2M
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09F8RYG2M
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.
Connect with Rob:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rob-Samborn/e/B09FQ4HCBY