Portrait of Lucia Mocenigo
by Angelica Kauffmann
"I'd like to say that A Venetian Affair is the
best novel I've read in years - it's almost as good as
Les Liaisons Dangereuses - except that it
happens to be true. Andrea di Robilant's story of
Andrea Memmo and Giustiniana Wynne is so
immediate, vivid, and powerful that it takes you
inside the minds and, indeed, the bodies of its two
passionate protagonists. And this, ineighteenth-century Venice, is an unforgettable place to be."
"Andrea di Robilant brilliantly evokes Venice
in the age of Casanova—masked balls,
elegant salons, louche casinos, and social, political,
and romantic intrigue. A Venetian Affair
is luminous, erotic, and utterly spellbinding."
—John Berendt, author of Midnight in the
Garden of Good and Evil
"A Venetian Affair is an enchantment.
Andrea di Robilant hasn't just brought a splendid
Venetian love affair to life, he has brought
eighteenth century Europe to life, both intimately
and grandly. This is narrative history
at its very best." —John Casey
"Lucia in the Age of Napoleon is less a biography
than a ghost story; unsettling, exciting,
almost unbelievable in its immediacy.
Lucia will become as vital a part of Venetian
history as Casanova, or Byron himself . . . "
—Frances Wilson, Sunday Telegraph
"Di Robilant paints a vivacious picture of the
Napoleonic age." —The New Yorker
"A full-on, rollicking costume drama...The letters reveal fascinating day-to-day detail about
life in eighteenth century Venice, and in particular the elaborate codes of society ... Andrea
di Robilant has sleuthed out the story behind the letters with skill, weaving together a
highly enjoyable narrative."
"Brilliant ... Like all the sexiest love affairs, theirs is strictly forbidden. So full of twists
and turns that you have to keep reminding yourself that it actually happened."
“Irresistible North is a captivating work of recovery. Di Robilant has a flair for the evocative
detail and his willingness to travel off the beaten path enlivens his account.”
“In setting out to elucidate a cartographical mystery, di Robilant has also shed light on the
16th century mind, caught somewhere between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.”
“A diverting and delightful book…In this hybrid of travelogue and history, di Robilant muses
on questions of Venetian cartography and navigation. An absorbing work that vividly
recreates post-medieval Venice.”
“Traveling in pursuit of an old Venetian tale, Andrea di Robilant has produced a clever, highly
entertaining book about uncertainty, and those quests that obscure as much as they reveal.”
“Readers will be intrigued by the this very readable account of how two Venetian brothers
possibly made it to the New World before Columbus.”
“Di Robilant is not one to give up easily and it is a delight to watch him track the story from
Venice to Iceland to Greenland in this engrossing adventure.”
“In this engaging book about a historian in pursuit of a riddle, di Robilant relates not just what
he found but how he found it and both what he knew and didn't know by the end of the quest.
It's the best kind of history: scrupulously honest, with attention to detail, and never exaggerated.
The puzzle is a centuries-old map, supposedly drawn by the Zen brothers—merchants, sailors
and explorers in late 14th-century Venice. The map was said to incorporate what they discovered
on their groundbreaking excursions into the sub-Arctic North Atlantic. But is the map, which
appeared only in print a century and a half later in a book by a Zen descendant, authentic?
VERDICT Di Robilant's book is rich in exotic detail (e.g., as he visits a burning mountain
on the Greenland coast), but at heart it is very modest, a work in which the author never
claims to know more than he does. His unassuming mastery of the facts illuminates this
little-known episode in late medieval history”
"History and anecdote abound on this entertaining journey with di Robilant on his quest to get the rose officially named by the American Rose Society"