Book Review: Prisoner of Paradise by Rob Samborn

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Pub date: 30 November 2021

A man on the brink of insanity traverses present-day and Renaissance Venice to save his soul mate from eternal purgatory.

The world’s largest oil painting. A 400-year-old murder. A disembodied whisper: “Amore mio.”ย My love.

Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’sย 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 voicewas 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.

With my current interest in the Renaissance I was intrigued by this historical fiction story which features sixteenth century and current day Venice. I’m not usually a fan of timehopping storylines but this book is brilliant!

The plot is fantastic, beginning in Renaissance Venice as a man named Angelo finds himself cornered by enemies and a stranger trying to help him, in present-day Nick and Julia are just arriving in Venice for a much needed break, ready to take in the sites especially a visit to the Doge’s Palace where they come across Paradise. The story will keep you guessing throughout, every time I thought I knew what would happen I was wrong! I won’t give away too much as I would hate to give any spoilers.

The characters are great, I loved Nick and Carlos, an artist Nick and Julia become friends with. The character of Carlos is one of those you don’t know whether to like or dislike and are kept wondering where his loyalties lie as he begins to question if the death of his own father is somehow a part of Nick’s mystery. There are also a couple of characters that are very unlikeable, Samborn has a talent of creating a variety of characters and developing their personalities throughout.

This is a fast paced story, full of action, intrigue, religion, art and a secret order, you name it, this book has it! Samborn excels with vibrant scenes and descriptives, you can almost see and smell the streets and sites of Venice as Nick and Julia traverse their way around. I was enjoying this so much I couldn’t put it down and read it within two days.
It is definitely unlike anything I’ve previously read and as this is Samborn’s first novel I am very impressed and already a fan and cannot wait to see what comes next. I’d suggest taking a look at the painting, it’s incredible and helps visualise the scenes.

The Prisoner of Paradise is due to be published on 30 November 2021 and Rob has kindly offered one ebook to a lucky person so if you’d like the chance to be that person please head over to my Twitter AmyMc_Books and give the tweet a like and a retweet. I will need the email address of the lucky winner so Rob can send over the ebook on 30th November. Good luck all! You certainly won’t be disappointed with this book, and if you don’t win I’d definitely recommend giving it a read anyway.

You can find the author on Twitter


  1. […] The Prisoner of Paradise is a brilliant dual time novel with an ending that left me wanting more. The Swordsman of Venice picks up just where we left off and continues with Angelo desperate to save Isabella but how?His ally gave him a destination to head towards but exactly how will he do that with powerful men chasing him?This novella is the first part of Angelo’s journey, Samborn has pulled out the stops to create a fast paced story with violent bursts and unexpected events.For a novella I was pleasantly surprised how much happens, from drunken chats, new friendships and quite a bit of violence as Angelo attempts to reach his goal.There are moments of humour, sadness and cheering on Angelo during the action packed story. Personally, having been waiting for Painter of the Damned, the next instalment in the Painted Souls series, this was the perfect way to get back into the story. The Painter of the Damned is out on the 25th October and I can’t wait especially after reading this brilliant novella. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.