The Prisoner of Paradise

The Prisoner of Paradise by Rob Samborn

Guest Post

March 2, 2022

The fire and untimely death that led to Paradise.

The Prisoner of Paradise is my debut novel, published by TouchPoint Press.

When Nick & Julia O’Connor, an American couple, travel to Venice, Italy on vacation, Nick comes to believe that his true soul mate is not his wife, but a woman trapped in the world’s largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries he suffers from delusions, Nick discovers a secret society that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls whom they deem to be evil. They imprison those souls in Paradise, painted by Jacopo Tintoretto in the 16th century. Nick goes on a quest to save his soul mate from eternal purgatory but liberating her means freeing all the souls—something the secret society will never let happen.

In real life, Paradise (Il Paradiso in Italian), is located in The Doge’s Palace (Il Palazzo Ducale), a thousand-year-old building located on the edge of St. Mark’s Square.

Now a museum, it was once the seat of government for the Venetian Republic. It was home to the doge (the elected leader) as well as the meeting place for senators, making it a combination of the United States Capitol Building and the White House—but four times as old.

Salvatore della Porta, the antagonist of the book, is the director of the museum. He takes his job incredibly seriously and treats the building like his treasured home—if not castle.

Spanning an entire wall of the Great Council Room, what used to be the largest room in all of Europe, Paradise is seventy-five feet wide by forty feet high, situated twelve feet off the floor.

The massive room is covered in Renaissance art and enthralls Nick and Julia, who have never seen anything like it.

But it’s Paradise—or more specifically, a woman in Paradise—who mesmerizes Nick.

Completed in 1592 by Jacopo Tintoretto, Paradise commemorates the coronation of Mary in Heaven. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the canvas. Many of them are depicted as flying angels (so we can see When Angels Fly 😊). The breathtaking painting is enormous. It’s impossible to view it all at once and even with multiple viewings, you’ll always find something new in it. 

In the image above, the orange lines illustrate where the actual top of the door is at six feet off the floor. For a reference of scale, you could fit three adult men shoulder-to-shoulder beneath each orange line.

This painting of Heaven has its roots in unsolved mysteries. Where Paradise hangs now was once a Gothic style fresco by Guariento, created in 1365. The subject matter was similar and the title was Coronation of the Virgin. In 1577, a fire demolished part of the Doge’s Palace, including the fresco. Nobody knows how the fire started.

Once the Doge’s Palace was restored, the Great Council held a competition for the replacement painting. The commission was granted to Paolo Veronese, the most famous Venetian painter and a rival of Jacopo Tintoretto’s. To this day, Veronese is more renowned.

In 1588, Veronese contracted a fever and died a few days later at the age of sixty.

The commission was then granted to Tintoretto, who took four years to complete the work. Tintoretto was a remarkably pious and generous man. It’s unlikely he was engaged in any nefarious acts. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great background for a story.

To learn more about The Prisoner of Paradise or to find purchase locations, visit

Media Kit

Book Title: The Prisoner of Paradise

Series: The Paradise Series, Book 1

Author: Rob Samborn

Publication Date: 30th November 2021

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Page Length: 333 Pages

Genre: Commercial Thriller, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

Twitter Handle: @robsamborn @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handless: @robsamborn @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #MagicalRealism #Thrillers #tintoretto #venice #UnlockThePast #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

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The Prisoner of Paradise

(The Paradise Series, Book 1)

By Rob Samborn


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.

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.

Trigger Warnings.

Violence, a rape scene, a torture scene.

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Author Bio:

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 as a budding furniture maker. A native New Yorker who lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, he now makes his home in Denver with his wife, daughter and dog. 

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