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The Prisoner of Paradise

(Painted Souls #1)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  210 ratings  ·  128 reviews
A trip of a lifetime.
A 433-year-old murder.
An ancient order that will kill to silence the truth.

Nick and Julia O'Connor's dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto's Paradise, the world's largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries her husband suffers from a delusion, Nick is adamant the voice belongs to a woman from the
Paperback, Paperback, 333 pages
Published November 30th 2021 by TouchPoint Press
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Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  210 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Oct 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: haunting
Riveting. Period.

I was given an advance review copy of this book for an unbiased review. Before I say anything else, I must say that this book contains language that might offend readers who want to avoid verbiage that might be considered blasphemous. This occurs once in the book, in context of the plot, and the character is chastised for it. Enough for a disclaimer, now for the review.

Have you ever felt captivated by a piece of art? It's the question at the heart of this novel. "The Prisoner o
Nov 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Page-turning thriller set in Venice with picturesque descriptions and realistic characters. Robert Langdon meets the magical realism of Outlander. Unique and entertaining to the last word.
Rob Samborn
Dec 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
As characters embark on life-changing journeys in books, authors do so in real life, from the first sentence to publication and beyond.

Seeing The Prisoner of Paradise out in the world is thrilling beyond words. The journey may not rival what Nick and Julia go through, but it certainly has been life-changing for me.

I originally wrote The Prisoner of Paradise as a script years ago. It was optioned by a production company founded by DreamWorks execs but never made into a film. After the rights re
Charissa Weaks
Oct 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A truly evocative and finely-woven tale reminiscent of Dan Brown and Gwendolyn Womack. Rob Samborn’s The Prisoner in Paradise slips effortlessly between present day and 16th century Venice with intriguing characters, clever plotting, and deft pacing that makes this book difficult to put down. Filled with stunning writing, the Venetian art world, and well-researched and vivid historical detail, this thrilling story captivates until the very last page.
Doug Yonce
Oct 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I picked this book because of the reviews, but even they didn’t prepare me for the grandeur of the novel. Freeing a lost love from a painting sounds kinda cheesy, but the detail, the language, the customs, the evil, the love, the consequences presented create an epic well worth reading. I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher and voluntarily provided an honest review.
Feb 28, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-thriller
After receiving a head injury while playing hockey Nick and his wife Julia are off to Venice for a romantic vacation and to potentially book Julia an art gallery showing.  While visiting the Doge's Palace, Nick is entranced by Tintoretto's painting, Paradise. While looking at the masterpiece, Nick hears a voice of a woman speaking to him from the painting.  He tries to shake the voice, but after Nick is run out of the Doge's Palace, can suddenly understand Venetian, finds that the name of the wo ...more
Lost in a book
Mar 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A trip to Venice usually involves soaking in the culture, drinking coffee, and not wanting to go home. That is what Nick and Julia expect from their visit. What they don’t expect is for Nick to hear the soul of Isabella Scalfini talking to him from inside Tintoretto’s painting, Paradise. Julia puts it down to her husband’s hockey accident and a potentially ongoing injury to his head. Nick, however, completely believes that Isabella is talking to him from inside the painting and that she is trapp ...more
Kathryn Ramsperger
Oct 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An engrossing tale that spans centuries of Venetian history, art, and social mores, Robert Samborn's The Prisoner of Paradise is full of intrigue and angst, focusing on the heroic choices we strive to make, the sins we feel compelled to pursue, and the gray area of right and wrong that bridges all of our crucial decisions about life and love.

Robert Samborn's debut novel is a work of both historical and speculative fiction, portrayed with detailed accuracy, whose intricate, complex plot will take
Mar 01, 2022 rated it really liked it

This was such a thrilling historical mystery, mixed with some sci-fi! I loved the characters, although they made some awful decisions. The plot was great and I loved learning about the art and locations discussed. I’m not a huge sci-fi reader, but this is the kind I enjoy.

Thank you to @booksforwardpr for this gifted copy in exchange for my review!
Laura Kemp
Mar 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
16th Century Venice comes to vivid life in this dual-timeline debut novel by Rob Samborn. On one hand we have Nick O'Connor and his lovely wife, Julia- two unsuspecting American tourists on an art tour of Venice- and on the other we have the star-crossed lovers- Angelo and Isabella. The only problem is Nick and Angelo are the same person, give or take a few lifetimes.
I was sucked in by the premise of this book, souls trapped inside a famous Tintoretto painting, while the romantic in me was in
Cara Bertoia
Mar 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I used to work on a cruise ship and went to Venice every ten days. I loved to walk through the narrow cobble-stoned streets, with colorful residences lining the canals. The architecture unchanged for hundreds of years. It was a town that just screamed that it was keeping secrets. Finally, Rob Samborn has exposed them in Prisoners of Paradise. Venice is known for its many museums and the author interwove the art and history of the city to develop a totally original plot. We follow Nick and Julia ...more
Alexander Blevens
Nov 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The ultimate love triangle of soul mates that transcends cultures, centuries, and corpora. An American tourist and his wife on a brief holiday to Venice are entangled in a sixteenth-century secret society intent on protecting itself. Rob Samborn weaves the reader through a myriad of canals in this sinking city as captured souls scream for help from ancient paintings, Protectors stop at nothing to safeguard the Order, and the interface between the past and present is blurred. There are plenty of ...more
Jun 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Prisoner of Paradise" is a stunning portrait of history, art, the occult, and action all in one incredible book. I found myself feeling as I did the first time I read Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code."

Samborn paints a vivid picture of both historical and modern Venice, and with action on every page, this is one book that will leave you breathless long after you've finished reading.

Join authors J.C. Kenney and Sarah E. Burr as we chat with Rob about "The Prisoner of Paradise" via a YouTube liv
Oh Look,AnotherBook
Mar 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how many books am I going to get that are set in Italy? My main goal is that, if I read enough books, it’ll be like I’ve been there myself, but the more I read, the more I just want to actually go! My plan is backfiring, and I’m not at all complaining.

This is very much a mystery/thriller/intrigue/supernatural kind of book. So it should come as no surprise that Nick O’Connor starts to hear a woman talk to him from a painting! And when a secret organisation, who are responsible for painting ev
Angel (Bookn.All.Night)
Aug 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
Nick, and his wife Julia, are vactioning in Venice. While taking in the sites, they make sure to stop and get lost in the beautiful art displayed at the Palazzo. When Nick sees Tintoretto's Paradise, it calls to him. Not because of it's beauty...but because of the voice he hears coming from it...

I am a huge lover of mixed timelines, past lives and secret orders. The Prisoner of Paradise is amazing. You start out with what is supposed to be a relaxing and fun dream vacation which quickly turns in
Stacy T.
Nov 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was kindly supplied an Advance Review Copy of this book. Not my usual genre and i am currently still reading this wonderful book, but felt i needed to add a review as i continue reading. i will update this as i read on and finish.
"The Prisoner of Paradise" is an eloquently written book, i confess i felt i was actually in Venice. The Prisoner of Paradise is full of intrigue. I love a story that keeps you wondering what will happen next and speculating what might happen, it keeps me entertained
Helen Blackthorne
Mar 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This is a hauntingly beautiful novel about love lost in time. The novel begins with a very ordinary couple, Nick and Julia, who are very much in love. However, when they take a trip to Venice, things take a sudden unexpected turn.

Julia loves the art and culture of the country they are visiting, Nick, however, enjoys the food and drink more than he enjoys the artwork! That is, until he begins to hear the voice of a woman who is seemingly trapped inside a painting. When Nick tells Julia about the
C. D'Angelo
Oct 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
From the first sentence, I was hooked. This book includes art, Italian culture, Venetian history, mental health, and mystery. What more can you want? I adored this creative story of a man torn by two worlds, including love, life, and death. This is my favorite book of 2021. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
Nisha Mody
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love how this book combines love, art, history, and different timelines with a rhythm that makes you want to keep reading to see what happens next. I could picture every scene and felt the tension between trying to stay grounded in reality but questioning what that even means when you are tasked to do something that has great political consequences. I felt like I was watching a Renaissance film on paper! Samborn’s writing is incredible, and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
Melanie Gordon
May 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
A thriller that is set in Venice, Italy?! SOLD! The synopsis and the setting definitely intrigued me, as it made me think of OUTLANDER (one of my favorite shows ever!)

This book was so well written, so fun, and so interesting that I could literally picture myself in the setting of the book (which makes it the perfect escape read!) This book is filled with villains, murder, breathtaking settings, forbidden love, and beautiful artwork. I will never look at a piece of artwork the same now after rea
Melina Lobo
Dec 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Death is but the first consideration. And then your beloved will indeed be lost forever.
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.

Lex Allen
Nov 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Standing before the world's largest oil painting, Tintoretto's Paradise—a monumental depiction of Heaven, in Venice, Nick hears a disembodied whisper, "Amore mio" my love. His wife Julia believes him delusional and insists he see a doctor, but Nick insists the voice is real and returns to the museum. Blacking out in the museum, Nick flashes back to a life as a 16th century Venetian swordsman tasked to seduce a married aristocrat, Isabella Scalfini, but instead falls in love. In the present, thro ...more
Linda McCutcheon
Apr 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
"I have been waiting for your return for half a millennium."

Hearing these words should grab a soulmate's heart but then what do you say to the love of your life for this lifetime? Just one of many dilemmas in the brilliant debut The Prisoner Of Paradise by masterful author Rob Samborn.

Combining the heart of Outlander and the thrill ride of the Da Vinci Code series this book took my breath away with its classic descriptive prose, intense heart pounding action scenes and all encompassing love stor
Breanne Christian

After a brain injury leaves Nick O’Connor somewhat confused, his wife, Julia is hesitant to travel to Venice for her career. Nick convinces her and his doctor that he is stable, and the pair goes on their trip. While exploring artwork, Nick believes that a beautiful woman inside of a painting called Paradise is talking to him, but only he can hear her. Unsure as to if it is real, or if it is his brain injury talking, he ignores it. Then, he passes out. Nick tries to write it off as his brain in
Aug 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

The Prisoner of Paradise is the first book in the Painted Souls series by Rob Samborn. This was such an engrossing read and had me flipping the pages to find out what would happen next. I was so immersed in the story that I ended up staying up well past by bedtime, reading the entire thing in one sitting.
It is such a well-written, gripping and vividly woven story- full of action, adventure, historical details, twists and turns, secrets, lies, danger, suspense, secret sects, intrigue, p
Thomas Riddell
Apr 29, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filled with magic, art, history, action and a very complicated and intriguing romance- this one has it all.

Tintoretto, a sixteenth century Italian artist painted the world's largest oil painting, named Paradise. Nick and Julia O'Connor have dreamed of going to Venice, and despite a head injury that Nick sustains in a hockey game, the couple makes the trip anyway. Tintoretto's painting becomes central to the couple's time there since Paradise is found by Nick to be haunted by a voice of a woman i
Sandra Young
Jan 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, suspense
The Prisoner of Paradise is an action-driven, suspenseful novel that sweeps readers on a thrilling journey through the streets and waterways of Venice.

2021 debut author Rob Samborn has extensively researched and crafted the supernatural-tinged tale, effectively weaving the power of true love to link past to present. His detailed descriptions carry readers from a sumptuous Renaissance home to dark, danger-filled tunnels beneath the city.

Though told through multiple points of view, the story is s
Bobbi Wagner
Aug 31, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this suspenseful thriller. This is a new author for me which I look forward to seeing what is next for this author. This is a well written story about a spirit reaching out through a painting. Is it real or is it a voice from the past? I enjoyed how the author brought the story to life using details to make the story realistic. The characters are creative, unique and relatable. They bring the twists and turns to another level. They are sitting on the edge of your seat suspense. ...more
Livi Brooks
Nov 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Book Analysis – Prisoner of Paradise by Rob Samborn

With a fresh twist on between the present and past, this novel is sure to give you an experience like no other. I was sent an arc for an honest review, and I am here to present just that. This book involved a perfected balance of structure when it came to the plot, character and conflict development. It was easy to feel in the moment with the characters as the vivid detail of the eras and time frames chosen were executed through the writing styl
Babs | babs_reviews
Nov 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022-reads
This was such an adventurous read. Magic, art, history, a cult and Italy, a solid combination and an excellent carry out that was so well written. Being transported through the written word is an amazing experience.

A wonderful blend of past and present, the power of forbidden but true love and the pull of it over time. Villains who will do whatever it takes to protect their secret and further the agenda. Artwork that is literally to die for.

Such a unique thriller concept! When Nick visits a fa
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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 ...more

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Painted Souls (2 books)
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