Book Review: Painter of the Damned (Painted Souls, Book 2) by Rob Samborn

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Pub date: 25 October 2022

After escaping Venice with their lives, Nick & Julia O’Connor have one goal: return home so they can end their nightmare vacation. But before they reach the American consulate, they’re captured by Interpol and returned to Venice.

Behind Nick’s detention is Salvatore della Porta, the corrupt head of an ancient, enigmatic order that controls Paradise, Tintoretto’s Renaissance masterpiece that’s also a purgatory for thousands of souls—including Nick’s soul mate from the 16th century.

Della Porta believes Nick’s previous life knows the location of a book lost to the ages. This mysterious manuscript will bring him world-changing power—or topple the order.

As Nick’s link to the past consumes him, it’s up to Julia to save her husband and crush della Porta. But with friends in short supply, she must enlist Carlo Zuccaro, unaware the young artist is the order’s new Painter and warden of the damned.

Having enjoyed Prisoner of Paradise I was thrilled to get my hands on the sequel.
Painter of the Damned demands your attention from the first page.
Nick and Julia find themselves struggling against a secret order, aiming to expose the order and the secrets held in the painting Paradise, created by the Renaissance master, Tintoretto.

We are reacquainted with some characters from Prisoner of Paradise but also introduced to some new ones, the young, chic, Fosca being my favourite. Of the original characters, della Porta increases his efforts to gain power but it becomes clear Nick and Julia are not alone in their distrust of him but how much help can their friends be against such a powerful organisation?

The way in which Carlo’s character develops after becoming the painter is brilliant. He’s torn between his friends and the Order but now also has the added confusion surrounding his fathers death. As the story progresses not only does Carlo’s character change but through him we get to learn more about Paradise and those trapped within.

The last few chapters build tension and I was sad when I reached the end as it left me wanting more. I was so grateful for a sneak peak at the next instalment but I’m now very impatient to read it.
You don’t have to have read Prisoner of Paradise but I definitely recommend it to better understand the story situation and get to know the characters.

There’s also a novella The Swordsman of Venice, which sits in between the two instalments which kept me going until I got my hands on this.

If you’re looking for something that is full of mystery, action, history and some humour then I highly recommend this series, you won’t be disappointed. Samborn perfectly blends the past and present resulting in a wonderful, complex but enjoyable read.

I’m genuinely looking forward to what comes next! Thank you Rob Samborn for some very late nights when I kept telling myself ‘just one more page’.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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