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Venetian Navigators The Mystery of the Voyages of the Zen Brothers by Andrea di Robilant

Venetian Navigators The Mystery of the Voyages of the Zen Brothers


Venetian Navigators The Mystery of the Voyages of the Zen Brothers by Andrea di Robilant

In the 1380s and 90s, Nicolo and Antonio Zen journeyed from Venice up the North Atlantic, encountering warrior princes, fighting savage natives and, just possibly, reaching the New World a full century before Columbus. The story of their adventure travelled throughout Europe, from the workshop of the great cartographer Mercator to the court of Elizabeth I. For centuries, the brothers were international celebrities, until, in 1835, the story was denounced as a 'tissue of lies' and the Zens faded into oblivion. Following in their footsteps Andrea di Robilant sets out to discover the truth about the Zen voyages in a journey that takes him from the crumbling Palazzo Zen in Venice to the Orkney Islands, the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland. Part history, part travelogue, Venetian Navigators is a charming tale of great journeys, fine detective work and faith, against the odds.

About the Author

Andrea di Robilant was born in Rome in 1957. He was educated at Columbia University, where he studied history and international politics. He has worked as a journalist all his life, in Europe, the United States and Latin America. His previous books, A Venetian Affair and Lucia in the Age of Napoleon, were published to great acclaim. He lives in Rome with his wife and two sons.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2012


Andrea di Robilant

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Faber & Faber


256 pages


Folklore, myths & legends
Geographical discovery & exploration



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