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Pistols! Treason! Murder!

'Pistols! Treason! Murder!' cover image

Pistols! Treason! Murder!

The Rise and Fall of a Master Spy

Short-listed for the NSW Premier's History Awards 2007 and the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2008

The year is 1622. Anxiety is high in the city of Venice. Rumors of treason flourish. The noble Antonio Foscarini stands accused and pays the ultimate price. Gerolamo Vano, General of Spies, provides the evidence. But who is really guilty? By the end of the year, Vano is swinging from the gallows in Piazza San Marco, while Foscarini is absolved posthumously. Pistols! Treason! Murder! uncovers the shadowy world of seventeenth-century espionage and the truth behind the most infamous miscarriage of justice in the history of Venice.

Including vividly illustrated comic strips, accounts of the author's bar tour around contemporary Venice, and painstaking detective work, Jonathan Walker’s story of the rise and fall of a master spy is compelling and highly original.

In untangling the career of the master spy Vano, Walker invites the reader into the historian's task of piecing together evidence from incomplete archival sources, making sense of motives, coming to terms with the story, and knowing when the job is done. Aspiring historians will find the methods Walker used to uncover this fascinating story invaluable in their own historical quests.