The Eyes of Venice
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Venice at the end of the 1500s is an unforgiving city. The Doge rules with an iron fist and the Holy Office harbors suspicions about everything and everyone. Even the walls have eyes. The Republic of Venice watches and listens, then passes judgment swiftly and definitively. In a city where everyone is assumed guilty of something, a young stonemason by the name of Michele has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Afraid for his life, he flees the city aboard a galley carrying gold coin, leaving behind his young wife, Bianca. Banished from his home, Michele embarks on a series of extraordinary adventures as the ship he travels on stops in every port and on every island of the Mediterranean. In order to survive this once naïve and immature boy must fast become a man, one possessed of cunning, courage and fortitude.
Bianca remains alone in the cruel and treacherous Venice. She faces challenges that are, if anything, even more difficult than those of Michele, and will encounter all the terrors and mysteries that the labyrinthine city holds in its blind alleys and narrow passageways. And she, like Michele, will discover in herself a tenacious and indestructible will to survive.
pitifully on its oars down the Istrian and Dalmatian coast, anchoring each night near the shore. After eight days of sailing it docked at Zara, and the crew again felt the stone pavement of a city under their feet. Michele had discovered that the fatigue was bearable and that his brick-and-cement-worn hands had formed new calluses without getting too sore. So he was convinced that he had become a man of the sea, and he went ashore with pride together with his mates in search of a tavern, after
broken. At the least, the coins will be recounted, one by one, and the carrier will be asked to account for the broken seal. The sopracomito had resigned himself to the counting of the coins, even though it would take an entire day, but here he was going have to come up with an explanation for why the seal had not only been broken but had completely disappeared, along with the original sack. Before entering port, the sopracomito had held a conference on this topic with the comito who, as usual,
interrogated by a magistrate, who advised them that to avoid worse trouble they should denounce Michele if he came back home, and sent them away, more dead than alive. They had to arrange to bury Matteo, whom the soldiers had fished out of the canal after hours of searching, swollen beyond recognition. Zanetta went to the priors of the confraternity to ask them to take care of the funeral, only to hear them respond that in such a case they had no responsibility to intervene. Matteo, they said,
too, and she was preparing some bread soup in the fireplace for the children. When it was ready they sat down to eat, all four of them together, and Chiara poured a bowl of soup for Bianca too. Ever since Chiara had moved in, she and the children had eaten on their own. The others said they were dirty, and gave off a bad smell. Bianca, who had thought the same way, suddenly realized that now she didn’t notice it anymore. I’ve already become like them, she thought. 14. The next day
together with their captain. “Pasquale! Fire on those people, clear the beach for me!” Master Ettore ordered, pushing his hat down on his head and feeling for the hilt of his sword. Then the boat, with six sailors manning the oars, headed for the shore. The Turks fired a few rounds with their harquebuses, but the balls fell into the water well short of the target. Then the main cannon of the Aquila, a culverin that shot balls weighing fifty pounds, thundered off a round of its own. The ball