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The Aquatic Labyrinth: A Venetian Mystery

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  66 reviews
When Jacopo came back home, he could not have ever imagined that in a few hours he would have found himself running for his life across the most mesmerizing maze ever built, Venice. He would have never believed he would be dragging himself like a wounded animal, breathless and clueless through the alleys and across the canals of the city, desperately trying to extricate a ...more
Paperback, 1, 326 pages
Published June 14th 2013 by ARTSEDIMENTS PUBLISHING
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3.75  · 
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 ·  127 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Dec 10, 2013 rated it liked it
/I received a free ebook from the author/

If there was an option like this, I would give this story 3,5 stars. It's a compelling historical mystery set in XIVth century Venice , that from the very beginning you know you have to solve. All the characters are so well written that you can actually see them. I also enjoyed a lot the change in narration from the first person to the third and back again... I believe not many authors can do it as skilfully as Alastair Fontana!

Then why only 3 stars? Ther
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder

The Aquatic Labyrinth: A Venetian Mystery is a beautifully written murder mystery that takes place in Venice approximately during the 13th century. The author, Alastair Fontana has crafted an intricate and enjoyable tale of a murder and the efforts of the main character to clear himself and his brother in law and the efforts of some compelling secondary characters to solve the crime as well. As it turns out this killing is no “simple” or “random” murder. It is a crime that could have political

Jim C
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
The author was kind enough to give this me as a free download for kindle. Thank you.

This novel can be classified as historical fiction as it takes place in 18th century Venice. Jacopo comes home to Venice and becomes immediately involved in a murder mystery. As he is on the run, he tries to prove that he and his future brother-in-law are innocent. Little does he know that the murder is not a simple murder but involves political ramifications.

This novel had a quick pace as there were no lulls for
Nikita (Njkinny's Blog)
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone..
Recommended to Nikita by: Alastair Fontana
When I first took up The Aquatic Labyrinth: a Venetian mystery, I wasn't quite sure of the treatment I would get here. The cover as well as the title is vague and gives no clear direction to a reader with respect to the story. The blurb is also ambiguous. But when you sink your teeth in the story, only then do you feel the full force of the magic Alastair creates in this book. :)

The story is set in 14th century Venice and Alastair creates a vivid picture of the place at that time with all its co
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I can find enough words to praise this book. It's been a long time since someone wrote a story that would have the ability to carry me away like that. It is had me at hello.

The main theme of the book revolves around a young man, Jacopo, who is involved in a crime he did not commit. Throughout the book, we see his efforts at proving his innocence. In the meantime, there are people that run to his aid and some others that set him traps. It seems like a pretty simple and pr
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed The Aquatic Labyrinth by Alastair Fontana. It had all the ingredients that I enjoy in a historical mystery. There was intrigue and politics involved along with murder and conspiracy in the island city of Venice.
Be pre-warned, if you do not like a detailed history of the locale in your historical mystery you may not care for this one. Each chapter begins with a description and explanantion of importance for each of the places that the scene is taking place in. I enjoyed this im
Paula Sealey
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Through an extraordinary turn of events, Jacopo finds himself on the run in Venice, wanted for a murder he didn't commit. As the story unfolds, other characters who will help or hinder Jacopo on his quest to prove his innocence are introduced, including courtesan Veronica and renowned poet and scholar, Sara, both of whom I found intriguing.

This was a highly enjoyable mystery concerning Venice's political and religious society in the post renaissance era. I found the historical references interes
Martha Bryce
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Neither the title nor the cover of this book was exciting or compelling, but the story was fantastic! Once you read the book, you will understand the title and its relevance. This novel is set in 14th century Venice and has it all: murder, mystery, a quest, a love interest. However, it is the exceptional attention to history and meticulous detail of recreating an authentic environment that makes this a fascinating read. I rarely rate a book with a 5, but this rating is well deserved. The story i ...more
Debbie Carnes
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love historical mysteries and this was a winner. It takes place in 1300's Venice.

This is a fast pace read with lots of detail, murder,mystery and history.

What more could you ask for?
At first I want to thank Alastair Fontana for letting me know that I can have his book for free in exchange for a rating and review which I gladly accepted.

The book itself is very interesting. While I was reading I sometimes thought of Leonardo da Vinci or Dan Brown. Leonardo da Vinci because he was such an intelligent person and one of the characters of the book felt like he could be inspired by him (Leone). Dan Brown because ... I dont know. The book was so clever written and details seemed so
Carrie Lahain
Fair warning: this exquisitely plotted historical murder mystery is as much a philosophical meditation as it is a Whodunit. THE AQUATIC LABYRINTH takes us on a tour of (let's call it) "17th" century Venice in all its beauty, grotesqueness, grandeur and depravity. Author Alastair Fontana populates his fictional world with historical figures from a range of time periods, which might annoy certain purists, but for me made the reality he creates waver like the sun on the Mediterranean. This liquidit ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review from my blog:
I'm back with another review! This week's book, as you can tell from the post title, is "The Aquatic Labyrinth" by Alastair Fontana which I downloaded at the end of January when if was available for free download on Amazon. However, there is also a giveaway currently being held on Goodreads for a paperback copy if you missed the chance to download it.
I rather enjoyed the storyline, however, there are a few small things to be aware of.
The writing takes a little while to get u
Allison Ruvidich
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. That has not influenced my opinion at all.

This book puzzled me vastly.

This is the story of Jacopo, a young Venetian sailor who finds himself irreparably entangled in a web of intrigue surrounding a strange dagger. As the danger grows, it becomes increasingly likely that he and his family will be casualties in a massive conflict. He is aided in solving the mystery by Sara, a Jewish poetess, and Veronica, a Venetian courtes
Feb 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book
Thanks to an invitation from the author, I got a free kindle download of this book – in exchange for rating and reviewing it, which I gladly accepted. Thank you!

Despite the fact that mystery and thriller are not my favorite genre (and due to this I would have probably not bought this book to start with), I got quickly fascinated by the story. The setting in late medieval Venice (somewhere between 14th and 15th century) is intriguing; being in love with this fairytale place even made me look up s
I was reminded of Umberto Eco's mystery The Name of the Rose. Eco's book isn't similar to Fontana's in content, but they are alike in being mysteries that are also novels of ideas.

The character that I found most notable is Sara Copio Sullam, an actual historical personage, who was a poet and a thinker who was accused of heresy. For more information see the article about her by Howard Tzvi Adelman on The Jewish Women's Archive.

I admit that I didn't always agree with Fontana's version of Sara. He
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
A good book, very well written and documented. I enjoyed reading it.

It took me two starts to read the book, the first time I put it down early in the book, the second time I picked it up I read through over half the book in one sitting. I love the setting and the author seems very knowledgeable of the city. Maybe a too knowledgeable, I often couldn't keep up with the descriptions or felt like I should go do some research to better understand all the names and histories of the places being mentio
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is an amazing historical mystery that let me understand better how interesting the life in Venice was almost five hundred years ago.
This is a lovely book about power, money, conspiracies, danger on the streets, murders and love stories in that century, Cavalieri di Malta, Kabbalah, Jewish people, noble people, Universe, time, revelations and many secrets of actual interest.
I liked the action and drama in this story, also the whole mystery intrigued me. I guess I liked it most because
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alastair Fontana has crafted a wonderful tale of historical fiction, set in Venice in or around the sixteenth century. The story is set around real historical characters and real historical events. The only character that wasn't a real historical person was the main character, Jacopo.

Told in alternating chapters of first person and third person, this story is captivating. It includes action, murder, betrayal, scandalous liaisons, and tragedy. It is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying
Jada Ryker
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Aquatic Labyrinth is a story hidden inside the cover of an ancient manuscript, dating back to the fourteenth century.

Jacopo is the son of an English seaman. His father met Jacopo’s mother when she helped him escape imprisonment. Jacopo became a ship’s captain, with his home base in Genoa. He comes back to Venice due to his sister’s engagement. Unfortunately, his sister’s fiancée has found a valuable artifact, which leads to a dead body and the fiancée’s arrest.

Set upon by three thugs in Veni
Rach Kaup
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish to go to Venice one day to explore the city and ride on a gondola! This book was rather good. Yes, there are lengthy paragraphs and so if you are one who likes to get through a book in a short amount of time, you will be skim reading a lot. I liked the information Alastair gave in the paragraphs, but I must confess that I skim read through some of the paragraphs.

The book had some good twists to it, a couple of things I could predict, but I couldn't predict EVERYTHING. I love mysteries and
Kayla West
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love any book with a puzzle in it. Something that must be figured out in order to see the whole picture. So it was definitely a no-brainer when I saw this book that I must pick it up and read it. And all in all, I was quite happy with the read.

For some reason, to me the beginning kind of scrambled in my head, making it hard to follow. But as I kept reading things became clear and I actually enjoyed the story. In fact, it was quite exquisite. The pictures were breathtaking, and I loved the use
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Before anything else, i'd just like to say that i am more of a YA dystopian reader and that even though i read classics too, i prefer the former genre...
Firstly, i like the title, cover and the blurb of the book. Had me really intrigued and only now do i realize how badly i feel for not winning the paperback giveaway!
Books like this actually intimidate me for i feel like they'd probably more be appreciated by an audience that are far more mature and intellectual than me but to my surp
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atw-in-80-books
This was a great book for people who like historical fiction. There was a lot of info embedded in the text pertaining to Venice and its people. While interesting, it sometimes held up the pace of the actual storyline, though. The plot itself was really good and fast-paced (when not trying to teach the reader various historical facts and philosophies), and the characters were fairly well-drawn. It actually turns out that a lot of them were real people, as I later discovered while reading the note ...more
Pulling Down
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author was kind enough to contact me and offer me the chance of reading this most exquisite book. It was such a wonderful read that I find myself lacking the appropriate words needed to describe it.

The historical part of the novel is so well researched and incorporated into the novel that you find yourself feeling as if you are indeed in Venice, walking along the paths followed by the characters, listening to the sounds of the city... All the characters but one are real time people from Veni
Kristin Lundgren
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Due to eye problems I am late with it, and apologies to all concerned. This is first and foremost an historical thriller/mystery. Set in Venice, one of the most fascinating cities in the world, in the 14th century, it is a period piece, much like Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose. The historical detail, and description, as far as I can tell, is well-researched, and even the outlay of the book itself, with illustrations and such, give ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the pace of the story, and the action scenes were well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions of Venice, and the details on the culture of the time. It seemed like the author put some good research time into cultural customs and details of the day, and pointed out some of them specifically to show that although methods and technology may have changed, a lot is still the same. One illustration in particular is where the courtesan decides to spend the day sunbathing and dy ...more
Julius Butcher
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I admit I expected something else when I started to read The Aquatic Labyrinth. I like fast paced action, mysteries, suspense. While certainly there's mystery in this book, the pace was too slow for me. Reading this story was out of my comfort zone.
This being said, I put on my "history novel" glasses, and try to evaluate the book from that perspective.
There are a lot of interesting details concerning the history of Venice, as well as about politics, religion and society. For someone who likes hi
Sonia Sethi
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story! It's a cliff-hanger murder mystery that is pulsed with generous doses of suspense and philosophical riddles. But what makes this story unique is it's setting - enchanting Venice, its complex history, religious influence and renaissance philosophy..... the intricacy of this backdrop is brought to life in a rather picturesque way that had me captivated.

I read this book on my Kindle Paperwhite, so unfortunately wasn't able to relish the fine pictures and imagery in this book
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very interesting murder mystery set in Venice about the sixteenth century. The story is set around real historical characters and
events except for Jacopo. The story moved along with intrigue, conspiracy, politics, murder,tragedy and the history of the places where the scene occur.
Jacopo returns to Venice for a visit to his sister and her fiance. The fiancé gets Jacopo involved with a murder. We get to see the labyrinth of Venice when Jacopo flees capture while proving his and the fiance’s inn
Jon McDonald
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Aquatic Labyrinth is definitely an interesting historical mystery, however, the story got bogged down occasionally with endless place descriptions and historical detours, and while sometimes interesting, it became annoying after a time. It was as though the author had done his historical homework and wanted to include every last scrap of information.

And there are a great many errors and omissions in the text. It really needs a good and thorough proof reading. This is surprising because there
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Alastair Fontana, PhD, spends most of his time between Europe and America. After studying in Italy, he worked in various institutions around the world and lived in many places (Madison, Berkeley, Lausanne, Brussels, San Francisco, and more). He likes traveling and loves writing. Among his other interests, he is particularly fond of visual art, photography, and cooking.